Trees are always my favorite part of a landscape. They offer seclusion, shade, grandeur and beauty that can’t be replicated. If maintained right, they will be a stunning focal point of your landscape. If not maintained, however, they can be the source of headaches and the primary reason you’re not as happy with your yard as you could be. But how do you know when your tree needs help? Here are 10 warning signs that your tree needs some TLC from an arborist.



Over-Weighted Limbs

When there is extra weight on the end of limbs, they are more susceptible to snap. This is an obvious danger in winter storms. However, it can also be a common problem in Sacramento in the summer time. In the dry heat, trees will lose elasticity and become prone to snapping limbs. If you see the ends of your tree’s limbs drooping towards the ground, this is an obvious sign that your limbs need to have some weight removed to reduce the likelihood of having limbs snap.

Discoloration in Foliage

Keeping in mind the seasonal changes your tree will naturally go through, a good indicator that your tree is not in good shape is the color of the foliage. Obviously, brown, crunchy leaves are an indicator that the branch is dying or already dead. But less severe discoloration could be a sign that your tree is in the early stages of malnutrition or under watering. Catching this signs before the foliage begins to die could be key to saving your tree.

Co-Dominant Stems

Co-dominant stems are usually the same size in diameter and originate in the same spot on the tree base. The co-dominant stems shown here can be identified by the shape of the union (a “V” shape instead of the correct “U” shape)  and the appearance of the bark growing into the joint. Co-dominant stems are problematic because they produce “included bark.” This compromises the strength of the branches and puts the joint at risk for splitting..

Ivy Overgrowth

Ivy growing over structures and trees can create a lush look and feel to your landscape. However, it can also destroy your trees and structures. Heavy ivy growth on your trees can be a killer if not addressed or, at minimum, heavily maintained.


This is a dead branch or limb of your tree that has died but not been removed. Dead wood is a problem for 2 reasons. First, if part of your tree is dying, it is necessary to understand why if you are going to prevent the rest of it from dying. Second, dead wood is going to turn into falling wood which can cause damage to yourself, visitors or your property. In any case, dead wood is a sign that you need to have your tree cleaned and examined.

If you notice any of these signs in your tree, don’t panic! There is still hope for your tree, with the RIGHT treatment. Be sure to only trust the advice of a certified arborist to ensure safe, efficient treatment for your tree and it’s surroundings.

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