What’s the best approach to dead limbs on trees?
In this post, Spruce Up Tree Care’s experts in tree trimming in Memphis share some insight into dead branches and keeping trees healthy.
When Should You Prune Dead Limbs on Trees?
Should you remove dead or dying branches on your tree? Yes, especially when tree injuries are apparent. It’s always a good idea to remove a dead tree branch, even if there’s a little life in it.
You will be doing the plant a favor by pruning your tree because it allows the plant to focus on new growth rather than trying to fix a weak limb that may never recover. With general trimming, it’s usually best to wait until the early fall, when the tree’s growth slows down. However, what you’re doing here in removing the dead branch or twig is more of a surgical strike and can happen at any time of the year.
While you may worry about oozing sap attracting insects, this is unlikely to be an issue if the bugs are coming to dead limbs on trees that are otherwise healthy. However, dead wood is still a risk to the tree’s health because it increases the risk of infection. The limb also gradually weakens and may break off at any time.
What Happens if You Leave the Limb in Place?
While one dead branch doesn’t mean your tree is dying, it can signify trouble. If you don’t remove the offending limb, there’s a whole host of risks involved.
The key is to trim the dead branch at the branch collar (the bulge where the branch comes out of the trunk). Correctly doing this allows your tree to heal quickly, demonstrating how trees recover after pruning.
The branch will fall off eventually, even if someone’s standing under it. It might also fly off during the next heavy storm or take other branches with it to tear away bark from the trunk. Trimming it mitigates the risks for yourself and your tree.
Disease and Pest Issues
The wood itself will begin to rot, potentially introducing pathogens into the tree’s heartwood. Dead wood also gives insects the ideal staging point for an invasion, so it’s best to call an arborist as soon as possible.
Why Are the Branches Dying?
It’s always worth trying to work out why a branch has died. The best option is to consult a professional tree service to see if any of the following situations apply:
- Is there enough sunlight for the branch? If not, the tree might compartmentalize it because it can’t produce food.
- Are there signs of infestation? Look for holes, bugs, and mud tubes.
- Is the bark torn? This could cause limb damage.
- Can you see any damage to the limb itself? Major damage needs attention.
Contact Spruce Up Tree Care for Expert Advice
Are you concerned about dead limbs on trees in your yard? Spruce Up Tree Care can help, even if you’ve used improper pruning techniques in the past. Call (901) 833-8242 today, and let us get to the root of the problem!