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3 Ways to Spot a Dead Tree in Winter

Dead Tree in Winter
An unhealthy or dead tree on your property can pose a serious threat to your safety. Dead branches could blow off the tree and damage nearby buildings, or the entire tree could topple and wreak serious havoc on both your and your neighbor's property.
Identifying a dead tree during the growing season can be a fairly straightforward process. A lack of leaves, leaves that are shriveled or brown, and leaves that show evidence of malnutrition are simple ways to assess the health of your trees. Unfortunately, many tree species go dormant during the winter months.
A dead tree can closely resemble a dormant tree. You must take the time to look for other signs of death and decay when caring for your trees throughout the winter. Waiting for spring to roll around to determine if your trees are dead places you at risk of having dead branches buckle under the weight of winter snow. 
1. No Signs of Life
Even in its dormant state, a healthy tree will exhibit signs of life. The leaves that adorn your tree's canopy during the spring and summer months bloom from buds that can be found along the branches of your tree. These buds should be visible, even in the dead of winter.
Look along the sides of twigs and branches to spot lateral buds, and examine the ends of branches to see if lateral buds are present. If there are no buds present on your tree or the buds that you can see look shriveled and dry, then these are good indications that the tree is in trouble.
Having the tree removed will improve your landscape and preserve your safety.
2. Unhealthy Bark
The bark that covers your tree's trunk and branches plays a critical role in the health of the tree. Bark consists of multiple layers that help transport minerals and nutrients from the root system to the rest of the tree.
When a tree is healthy, the bark is continually growing and replenishing itself. This continual growth creates the rings that are visible in the cross-section of the trunk. If you want to determine the health of your tree during the winter months, then check the health of the visible bark.
If there is evidence of new bark growth, then your tree is just in a dormant state. If you can see deep cracks in the bark or you see layers of bark that are beginning to shed, then these are signs that your tree has died. Removing a tree whose bark is unhealthy will prevent further decay that could compromise the structural stability of the tree.
3. No Internal Moisture Content
Trees rely on water to help them remain healthy, even in their dormant state. Water is constantly distributed from the root system throughout the branches in the crown.
You can use this trail of moisture to help you determine if your tree has died during the winter months. Remove several small branches from your tree and scrape the outer layer of bark away with a pocketknife. A healthy tree will be moist and green underneath the outer bark layer.
If your scraping reveals internal layers that are brittle and brown in color, then the tree has died and will need to be removed from your property.
Dead trees and dormant trees can look very similar. Determining the health of your trees during the dormant winter months can seem challenging, but a dead tree will be easy to identify based on its lack of buds, unhealthy bark, and lack of internal moisture.
If you have a dead tree on your property, then contact us at J & B Professional Tree Service, Inc. We can safely remove the tree to prevent dead limbs from becoming a safety hazard.