Dead or Deciduous?

The performance of trees is highly based on the environment they are surrounded with. Deciduous trees – trees that shed their leaves throughout the year – can be found in most parts of the world. In most cases, deciduous trees lose their leaves with the seasonal change from summer to fall. When lacking significant amounts of rainfall, sunlight, and minerals, they must halt their regular processes, thus causing their leaves to fall. When a tree is bare, many people may think it’s lifeless, but it’s simply retaining the necessary resources to survive the drier season. Many people are unsure how to determine if your tree is deciduous or simply dead? Luckily, there are a few ways to determine the difference.

  • Step one: Look closely at the branches of the tree. If there is any evidence of leaves or small leaf buds, the tree is likely still alive. Even during dry and cold seasons, living trees may present small leaf buds as they prepare to bloom in the spring. Some branches on a single tree may have budding leaves while others don’t. However, if there are leafless branches that snap easily without bending, or have dry, shriveled, or hanging leaf buds, it is likely a dead tree.
  • Step two: Take a look at the bark on the tree. A tree’s bark replaces itself the same way that our skin and hair cells replace themselves. If your tree’s bark appears try and breaks off easily, this might be a sign of an unhealthy or lifeless tree.
  • Step three: Take a “scratch test.” Using a sharp object, such as a pocket knife or your fingernails, lightly scratch one of the branches or twigs on your tree. If the tree is alive, the cambium, a plant tissue layer just beneath the surface, should appear green. The cambium layer stays green during all seasons, but will turn brown if the tree’s life has expired.

If you’ve followed these three steps and the tree seems to have no sign of life, it’s time to call Miller’s Tree Service. In doing so, the tree can be carefully removed so it doesn’t begin to pose a safety concern to any surrounding areas. Our staff is highly trained to work safely and efficiently with the removals of dead trees, and we guarantee to minimize the impact to surrounding vegetation.