<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1529661517359828&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1"> How To Tell If A Tree Is Dying On Your Property

Tree maintenance is a commercial landscape service HighGrove offers, so we know firsthand what the symptoms of a dying tree look like. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of key indicators of dead and dying trees so you can address the problem sooner rather than later.

After all, a dead or dying tree on your commercial property won’t fix itself. And the longer you let it go, the worse things can get for you, the property, and its tenants.

bare branches in spring is one way how to tell if a tree is dying on your property

Trunk Damage

Are there vertical cracks on the tree in question? Severe damage to the trunk of a tree can greatly affect the likelihood of your tree’s survival. So, in addition to any cracks or seams on the trunk, take a look at the bark on the tree — or lack thereof.

When a tree ages, old bark will fall off on its own and eventually be replaced by a new layer of bark if the tree is healthy. If new bark doesn’t reappear and areas of smooth wood remain, this can indicate that your tree’s health is on the decline.

Bare Branches

How are the tree’s branches looking? One warning sign is if the branches are bare during a time of the year when they should be covered in leaves. Also, keep in mind that dead leaves will cling well into the winter on dead branches of deciduous trees instead of dropping to the ground as they would on a healthy deciduous tree.

Dead branches relegated to one side of a tree can also indicate serious trunk and root damage.

Damaged Roots

Since roots can run very deep underground, determining if your tree’s damaged roots aren’t always easy or visible. Recent excavation projects, new construction, a shallow root system, exposure to extreme elements, and poor soil compaction are all things that can affect the vitality of a tree’s roots.

One serious sign of root damage is a sudden and noticeable lean to the tree. Another is if you begin to notice small branches sprouting from the trunk at the tree’s base. This type of branching is known as epicormic shoots and may indicate that the tree is under severe stress.


Large fungus — shelf or bracket fungus (aka wood conchs) — on the trunk or branch of a tree can indicate that your tree is experiencing internal rot, and anything beyond the fungus may be dead or dying.  tree maintenance will help identify fungus on tree trunks


Has your commercial property taken on some new construction? Where were some but not all trees removed in or around the construction area? Unfortunately, those trees spared may be experiencing a significant increase in their exposure to sun and wind, which can be detrimental to their health.

Nearby construction can also damage roots, soil compaction, and changes in grading.

Why Are Dying Trees A Problem For Commercial Properties?

Sure, dead trees can look unattractive, but problems from dead and dying trees on your commercial property are far from superficial. Here are four costly dead-tree problems that go beyond looks.

  • Dead branches can fall without warning and cause serious injury and property damage.

  • Diseased or insect-infected trees can spread to other trees on your property.

  • Dead trees also attract insects and other unwanted pests (termites and rats).

  • Dying, leaning trees can unexpectedly target structures, power lines, cars in parking lots, and pedestrians on walkways.

Identify Dead Trees With HighGrove’s Commercial Landscape Maintenance Team

Are you still unsure how to tell if a tree is dying and interested in a second opinion? Our certified arborists will perform a complete tree assessment targeting either an immediate problem or a future concern. We will target trees that are in decay and could be at risk of falling if the conditions are right.

Give HighGrove Partners a call at 678-298-0550 or use our simple contact form to set up a meeting with our commercial landscape maintenance services department. 

Last modified: February 24, 2022

Ready for Award-Winning Landscaping?

With more than 30 years of creating award-winning solutions for properties throughout Atlanta, we provide comprehensive landscape maintenance, design/build and water management programs to property managers, developers and owners enabling us to serve all of your outdoor needs.