Aug 6 2019

How Do Trees Grow Old and Die?

Trees have a lifespan just as human beings have a lifespan though some trees such as the Great Basin bristlecone pine can live for up to thousands of years. Even the legendary bristlecone pines will eventually die however. It's not appropriate to say that a tree or any living being for that matter dies of old age. What we mean to say when we say that something or someone dies of old age is that it has passed due to illnesses associated with aging. The actual cause is usually something specific like the failure of a key organ. Trees grow indefinitely given the right conditions. In fact, according to Nature journal, trees grow faster as they age granted the laws of physics force them to eventually grow wider rather than taller. So why or how do trees die? There are many forces that take a toll on the organism of the tree. Some triggers of death include insect infestations, diseases, and natural disasters. These causes aggregate and limit the tree's ability to regenerate and stay alive; for instance, insects may consume the tree's nutrients that would otherwise be used by its leaves to photosynthesize.

Signs to Look Out For

The most obvious sign of a dying tree can be seen in its leaves or lack of leaves. Granted deciduous trees lose all their leaves during the winter, a tree that is losing leaves during growing season can be assumed sick or dying. Moreover, yellow leaves on a tree that is supposed to have green leaves is an indication of a problem.

Wood-boring insects and fungus exploit the nutrients of a tree. If a tree cannot make up for the nutrients lost to these parasites, then the tree will begin to wither away. Pests often make their homes under the bark of a tree and this bark will become loose and fall from a dying tree. Be sure to look out for brittle bark as this is also a sign that the tree is headed in the wrong direction. A further sign of insect infestation can be seen by taking a closer look at the wood of the tree: holes and tracks are created by insects such as beetles.

Dangers of a Dying Tree

It's no secret that a dying tree is aesthetically unpleasant and bring down the value of your home but dying and dead trees pose more of a risk than that to your home's value. Dying trees are often in that state because of parasitic insects that can migrate over from the tree to your home and cause further disaster. Those insects can cause damage to your house or bring in diseases. Of course, the most obvious risk associated with dying trees is the possibility of them crashing down on your vehicle, house, or family members. At Sesmas Tree Service in Atlanta, we come in contact with devastating scenarios and urge everyone to take precautions. 

What to Do

If you are concerned about a dying tree falling over and causing harm to your property or loved ones, then give us a call at Sesmas Tree Service to schedule any type of tree care or tree removal services in your area. We can help you determine whether the tree can be revived or whether it is best to bring the tree down safely.

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