Is My Tree Dead or Dormant?

Deciduous trees drop their leaves in winter to conserve energy, helping them survive the season without additional nutrition or watering. This is what we call the dormant season. 

However, a tree shedding its leaves may also indicate ill health. For this reason, you might find yourself wondering, “Is my tree dead or dormant?”

As a reputable tree service in Citrus Heights, we’ll share some critical features you can look for to determine whether you have a dead or dying tree, or it’s just taking a winter break. 

is my tree dead or dormant

Check for Budding Life 

One way to differentiate a dead or dying tree from a dormant one is to check for signs of budding. Closely examine your tree for small leaf buds at the tips of branches. Healthy trees should have these buds even in winter!

Can’t see any live buds, or have you noticed ones that are dry and shriveled? Then, the branch could be dead. Examine a few other branches to see if it’s only one dead branch or if the entire tree is in distress. 

Similarly, if you notice dead leaves still attached to the tree throughout the fall, even when they ought to have dropped, your tree could be in trouble. 

Is the Bark Healthy?

The bark plays an integral role in protecting your tree against disease, pests, and harsh environmental elements. When the bark is healthy, your tree is certainly in good shape. 

However, you should worry if you notice any unusual holes, cracks, or fungal texture on the bark. It’s best to call a qualified arborist to assess if your tree is in trouble. Never play down even a minor scratch — speedy action will help prevent an issue from escalating into a bigger one. 

Perform the Scratch Test or Snap Test

Still wondering, “Is my tree dead or dormant?” Another way to find out is by scratching the outer side of the bark. Using a pocketknife or your fingernail, gently scratch a small section of your tree’s branch. If you see hydrated hues of green, your tree is healthy. 

However, if the bark is frail or exhibits a shade of brown, then things aren’t looking good. You can also check whether your tree is dead or dormant by gingerly bending a year-old branch to a 90-degree angle. If it breaks, the chances are that the tree is dead. 

What To Do Next

If you’ve gone through the steps above and don’t see any signs of life, you might want to consult a professional for a second opinion before thinking about the next course of action. 

If, indeed, your tree is dead or is on the verge of dying, you’re better off removing it. This will help prevent pest infestation, protect your property from falling branches, and more. You should leave the tree removal job to an ISA-Certified arborist to avoid any nasty mishaps. 

If your tree is still alive but in distress, pruning might help restore its health, particularly if the roots are still in good shape. However, it pays to perform a proper diagnosis to determine the best course of action. 

Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance

Is my tree dead or dormant? If you still can’t find a conclusive answer and need professional help, Ace Tree Service is your go-to local arborist. We provide a wide range of services, including:

  • Tree Removal
  • Tree Trimming & Pruning
  • Stump Grinding & Root Removal

Contact us at (916) 934-3204 for a free estimate or to learn how to tackle various tree boring insects in Citrus Heights, CA. See how we can help.