3 Reasons to Cut Down a Tree on Your Property

Cutting down a tree should be the last course of action when you notice some problem with it. It is possible to have a dying tree that has no risk of falling on property or people, for instance. Such trees provide food and nesting grounds to species like woodpeckers, and hence cutting would hurt the ecosystem. Careful consideration must take place before tree lopping takes place, including weighing the effects of removal versus leaving the tree in place. This article highlights three instances in which removal may be considered.

1. Fungal infestation

As mentioned, a dying tree isn't necessarily an unhealthy tree. However, if a tree has sustained more than 50 percent damage to its structure, it may be cut down. Trees with fungal infestation are on a downward curve, and it's only a matter of time before they pose a real hazard. Watch out for smaller-than-usual leaves, early discolouration (i.e., not related to season), large wounds, vertical cracking on the stem, dying limbs and slowed growth. These signs indicate internal fungal infestation.

If you see fungal fruiting structures (like mushrooms or shelve-like growths) at the base of the tree, the fungal infestation is usually too far advanced for the tree to be salvaged. Such trees are hazardous because the stems and roots are weakened; they can be felled by a moderately strong wind. Unfortunately, little can be done to rescue such trees, as the fungus is already present in the soil and cannot be eliminated.

2. Hollowed trees

It is possible for a hollow tree to live for very long because the support tissues that transport nutrients and water (phloem and xylem) are found in the outer parts of the trunk. However, hollow trees are structurally weaker and pose a danger in the event of bad weather. You can use an axe (the non-cutting edge) to hit the trunk and sound it out at different points. Most timber-buyers use this method when choosing trees to fell for timber. If you're still not sure, a certified arborist can inspect using a sounding axe or hammer or an increment borer.

3. Large branch damage

Damage on smaller limbs could be localised, but damage on the larger/older branches often indicates a more serious problem.  If less than 25 percent of all branches are dead, you can start by cutting off the dead branches, and the rest of the tree should survive. However, if the problem persists, this indicates a tree-wide problem, and the tree should be inspected by an arborist and felled if found to have an irresolvable problem. Similarly, dead branches on one side will create a lopsided tree that is not only an eyesore but can also be felled by strong winds or rain. You'll find trunk or root damage on the affected side, and only an arborist can tell whether or not the tree is redeemable.