Is Your Tree Dead in Cape Cod? (5 Signs You Can Check for)

One of the valuable assets that you can have on your Cape Cod property is trees. They come with many benefits including boosting the appeal of your property, offering you shade, and even increasing your home’s energy efficiency.

Sometimes, a dead tree gives obvious signs such as the leaves drying and falling off in the summer, or the branches developing sores or holes from pest infestation. However, identifying a tree that is in poor health can be harder, which makes it more delicate to address, especially if the tree is next to your home.

So, you want to watch out for these five signs that your tree may be dead or dying. This knowledge will alert you when things go wrong with your tree and help you address the issue before it causes damage to your property. For further information from our arborists in Cape Cod, please visit us on our website at

Signs that a tree may be dead

If you’re worried that your tree may be dead, there are a few signs you may want to watch out for to know whether your tree is truly dead. The following are some of them:

The leaves are dry

If your tree is losing its leaves or its foliage is becoming crunchy during the winter or autumn months, there may be nothing to worry about. However, if these happen during the summer or spring seasons, then there’s a problem with the tree.

Another thing with this sign is that you may notice that some branches of the tree are full of healthy leaves while some other branches are scanty. When compared to other trees of the same species, a dying tree may have fewer leaves.

The branches are weak

There are times when the leaves of a dying tree may seem to be doing fine but the tree branches may begin to sag due to weakness. This usually happens with trees that have many and heavier leaves. One of the common trees in this category is the willow tree.

A weak tree branch can manifest itself by sinking due to the weight of its leaves and sub-branches. This can even be worse during and after rain. This is a sign that there is a problem with the tree.

The branches and trunk have dried up

One of the things you may want to check is if the tree branches are still flexible when bent. This should be the case even with trees that are naturally more brittle. If the tree snaps or cracks far quickly, it may be a good sign that the tree is dead.

The branches and trunks of a tree should be elastic. This property is what helps to survive most winds. A tree’s loss of elasticity is a sign of a problem with it.


Waterlogging may cause softness and decay to a tree, and this may be not much trouble. However, if this situation is not caused by waterlogging, then it’s a sign that the tree is not fighting off fungus, bacteria, and disease. This is a sign that your tree may be dying or dead.

You may have nothing to worry about if mushrooms and fungus are going on roots and trunks. But the entire section of the tree is too soft to touch, it might be an indication of a problem.

When this happens, the tree may have been infected by fungi and bacteria, thereby creating sores and open wounds known as cankers.

The tree is leaning

Another sign of a dying tree is a weakened root system which eventually causes the tree to start leaning. This is not the same as when a younger tree is growing towards the sunlight; it is when the whole tree structure is leaning to a side right from the roots. In this case, the roots are failing to hold the tree in place from the soil. This is a clear indication of a dying or dead tree.

Attempting to save a leaning tree is often a waste of time and it is better for such a tree to be removed. The urgency of removing such a tree is higher when the tree is leaning towards your house, garage, or your neighbor’s. This poses danger to everything around it.

Is my tree dying or dormant?

The external symptoms of a dying tree and a dormant tree are similar, especially with the two situations causing the tree leaves to wilt, dry up, and fall off. This could confuse you when it comes to knowing if your tree is dead or just dormant. However, you should know that when a tree is dormant, it is just in a state of hibernation, where the tree is just in a state of preservation and slow growth.

To determine the health of your tree, you may want to wait until the spring or you consult an arborist in Cape Cod to run some tests on the tree.

While there are a few tests you can run on your own to determine whether or not your tree is dying or just dormant, it is always best to engage the service of an arborist to determine which is happening to your tree.

Can you save a dying tree?

If just a part of your tree is dying or the whole tree is diseased, a Cape Cod arborist may still be able to save it. The first thing you need to do is to identify the problem with your tree. The symptoms that a sick tree will show have many similarities to the ones a dead or dying one will show, except that the signs will not be as widespread.

As soon as you see any signs that your tree is not doing well, call an arborist. Doing this will increase the tree’s chances of survival. 

Final word

There are times when nothing can be done to save your tree. Even healthy and strong trees can be affected by severe weather, infestation, or disease. The best thing to do when your tree is beyond saving is to have it removed to prevent the danger of falling on your home, and worse, on people.

Treating or removing a sick or dead tree yourself shouldn’t be an option to consider as there are too many safety risks that are involved in doing so. You want to make sure that you engage the service of an arborist in Cape Cod, MA to get the job done.

You may want to check Yelp for a list of reputable tree companies in Cape Cod. It is important that you do enough research before you hire a tree company.

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