Is My Tree Dead or Dormant: Identification Guide

You may look in your backyard and wonder, “Is my tree dead or dormant?” This helpful guide will help you determine if your tree is dead or dormant and what you can do about it. You can also obtain top-rated tree services in Albany by Green Acres to remove your dead tree.

How to Identify a Dead Tree

Below are some helpful ways to determine whether you have a dead or dormant tree.

1.  Look for Signs of Life (Budding)

You should see tiny leaf buds on trees, even in winter. A dead branch will have no buds or dry, shriveled buds. Sometimes there are just a few branches like this, but it is not a good sign if there are several throughout the tree. Dead leaves remaining and hanging on after the fall also signal your tree is not doing well.

2.  Inspect The Tree Trunk

A tree’s skin, or bark, is typically healthy and strong. A decaying or dying tree will have bark with holes, missing bark, fungus, or cracks in the trunk. All these signs mean you need an arborist’s help.

3.  Utilize The Scratch Test

You can use a pocket knife or finger to perform the scratch test on tree branches. To perform the scratch test, take the knife and scratch the outside of the bark until you see the second layer.

Bright green and moist stems indicate they are healthy. However, brown and brittle branches that snap reveal a dead tree.

Are Dead Trees Dangerous?

Dead trees can put people in danger when found in areas where people commonly walk. The tree could fall or break at any moment and is also difficult for someone to cut down themselves. Instead of putting yourself in harm’s way, have a professional cut down the tree.

Bringing Back a Dormant Tree

A tree typically becomes dormant in the winter or when it doesn’t receive enough sunlight or nutrients. It may require better soil or time to recover but can take up to four weeks after winter to return to normal.

A tree can also become dormant due to overwatering, root damage, or underwatering but may not always spring back to life as expected. If this is the case, contact your local arborist before proceeding further.

Can I Save a Half-Dead Tree?

Is my tree dead or dormant? Now that you know the answer, you may wonder if you can save your half-dead tree.

It depends on its condition because trees with dried-out areas and leaves falling in unexpected spots are often a lost cause. However, you can save some diseased or infected trees.

You can save an old tree by cutting dead branches, allowing nutrients to spread to the rest of the tree. This task also helps ensure that it is a healthy tree.

Deal with Dead or Dormant Trees the Right Way

Green Acres Tree Service & Land Clearing can help you with plant healthcare, tree trimming, pruning, and removal in Georgia. We can help you answer, “Is my tree dead or dormant?” and know when it’s the best time to remove trees.

Call us today at (229) 881-2538 for a free estimate and affordable tree services in Albany, GA!


We provide the best professional tree care services for residential  and commercial tree care in Albany, and surrounding areas of Southwest GA.


Contact Us

Call Now Button