5 Reasons to Consider Removing a Dead Tree From Your Yard

C.E. Larusso
Written by C.E. Larusso
Updated March 10, 2022
beautiful house surrounded by healthy  trees
Photo: Photographee.eu / Adobe Stock


  • A dead tree poses safety risks and legal liabilities.

  • Decomposing trees attract pests and can spread disease.

  • Your yard will look better without it.

  • You’ll save money by removing it compared to it falling on your or your neighbors’ home.

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One cannot help but feel a sense of loss when a tree dies in the yard, whether it’s a venerable old growth that predates your occupancy of the house or a recently planted sapling struck down by disease. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t allow yourself too much time to mourn a fallen tree—there are good reasons to allow a dead one to linger in your landscape. Read on to learn the most significant reasons you should act when you start to notice any signs that a tree should be removed

1. Dead Trees Harbor Pests

A dead tree is simply a huge mass of rotting organic matter; in other words, a cornucopia of food for pests like termites, bark beetles, and carpenter ants, which will take up shop and rapidly multiply near their new food source. For other pests, like rats, it forms an ideal nesting place within striking distance of your home. 

2. It’s Dangerous

Once it’s dead, a standing tree can quickly become structurally unsound. Wind or precipitation can easily knock down weak branches, with the potential to seriously damage anything or anyone they land on. As a homeowner, you’re also legally liable for any destruction those falling branches cause to a neighbor’s home or public property.  

That’s hardly the worst of it. As the roots and trunk decompose, the whole tree can topple over, bringing its full weight down with such force that it can easily crush a car or crash through a roof. 

3. One Dead Tree Can Infect the Others

Disease is one of the likeliest causes of tree death, and some tree diseases, like powdery mildew, are contagious. Such maladies will spread from the branches to nearby trees or travel from fallen leaves to the plants below, laying ruin to healthy flora. If you suspect that disease is to blame for killing your tree, contact a local arborist, even if you’ve had it removed, to make sure that the infection hasn’t spread to other features of your landscape. 

4. It’s Ugly

There’s no arguing with the innate aesthetic appeal of a healthy tree with a big, solid trunk, branches aflame with the vivid hue of flourishing leaves. But a dead tree, with its sickly bare branches, peeling bark, and decaying wood, is an eyesore that casts a foreboding pall over your whole landscape. It can dramatically reduce curb appeal, and thus the value of your home, and draw the ire of neighbors.  

5. Proactive Removal Will Save You Money

worker cutting down tree in front of home
Photo: nd700 / Adobe Stock

You’ll save if you contact a professional tree removal service when you notice that one of your trees has died instead of waiting until it causes problems. Companies that perform emergency tree removal charge a premium for the service—and by the time you’re calling them, you’ve probably already accrued charges for any damage the fallen tree made to a neighbor’s property or your own. 

Don’t attempt a dangerous DIY job; hire a pro to safely and efficiently cut down the tree, and remove the stump and root system. Typical costs of tree removal range between $200 and $2,000 per tree, depending on its size. The good news is that many insurance companies pick up the cost of removal, so check your policy. 

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