How to Tell if a Tree is Dead During the Winter
Trees in the winter can appear dead and usually that’s nothing to worry about. But what if there’s a dead tree lurking among the dormant trees on your property? If you’re concerned about this possibility, you can perform a tree winter inspection to find out if your trees are dead or just sleeping. A professional tree care company can also perform a more detailed hazard tree winter analysis to see if the tree should be removed.
A three step tree winter inspection should tell you a lot about your tree’s condition.
- Look at the branches for green buds waiting to open. Dead branches will either have no buds or dry, shriveled ones. Dead trees may also have hanging leaves that never fell in the autumn.
- Look at the trunk for new bark growing in on a living tree. A dead tree may have a lot of old and cracked bark and show no signs of growing new layers.
- Try the scratch test. Using your fingernail or a small knife, lightly scrape an area on one of the tree’s branches. Right beneath the bark, you should see moist, green flesh. If the tree is dead or dying, that layer is likely to be brown and brittle. Try bending twigs as well. If they snap, the branches are dead.