At Rice’s Tree Service and Landscaping, we’ve definitely seen our share of dead trees. This is how we know exactly what the signs are when you have a dying tree on your hands. It’s important for all homeowners to know these signs because the sooner you can recognize them, the better. The longer a dying or dead tree is on your property, the bigger problems it can create.

Not only are dead trees an eyesore, but they can also spread diseases to other trees; their dead branches can fall and cause damage or injury, and they can attract termites, rats, and other annoying pests. Bottom line: they’re a problem.

In case you’re unsure of what to look for, here’s how you can know.

Damaged Roots

This isn’t something you can just spot easily—since roots can run very deep into the ground—but one big sign of root problems is an abrupt and noticeable lean to the tree. Another clear sign is if you can see small branches sprouting from the base of the tree, at the trunk. This happens when the tree is experiencing severe root issues. Causes of a tree’s root problems can include new construction, exposure to extreme weather elements, nearby excavation projects, a shallow root system, and poor soil compaction.

Bare Branches

If your tree’s branches are bare when it’s supposed to be blooming or full of leaves, this is a big warning sign. Remember too that on dead branches of deciduous trees, dead leaves will cling well into the winter instead of dropping to the ground like they would on a healthy deciduous tree. A telltale indicator of trunk and root damage is when dead branches are on one side of the tree.

Tree Fungus
photo credit: public domain via


It might look attractive to some, but fungus growing on a tree’s trunk or branches usually means internal tree rot, and anything beyond the fungus is dying (or already dead).

Trunk Damage

Did you know that trees “shed” their “skin”? As trees age, their old bark falls off and gets replaced by new bark, if they’re healthy. So if you spot areas of smooth wood without bark, this could mean your tree is sick. No new bark = health decline.

Also look for any major damage to tree trunks that was caused by other threats, such as wildlife or machinery. When a tree’s trunk is badly “injured”, it affects the tree’s survival.


Based in North Royalton, OH, our family-owned firm serves the Cleveland metro area from Medina to Broadview Heights and beyond. We offer lawn and landscape installation, maintenance, and removal; bed edging and maintenance; mulching; lawn mowing and trimming; shrub installation, trimming, and removal; tree removal and tree trimming; land clearing, and much more. Call us today at (440) 582-7669 to get a free quote on lawn services                                                         or to find out about our current specials!