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6 Signs of a Healthy Tree

Rick Castro
Written by Rick Castro
Updated August 20, 2015
arborist checking tree with homeowner
Make sure your leaves aren't wilted or irregularly shaped. (Photo courtesy of The Davey Tree Expert Company)

Regular tree evaluations and maintenance may mean a world of difference to the health of your trees and the value of your property.

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While you’re enjoying the summer season, take a moment to look up and check your trees. A good look every now and then can be the difference between having healthy trees and having trees with advanced problems that could do damage to your property.

Leaf through these signs of healthy trees.

1. One main tree trunk

In addition to creating a straight appearance, a main, center trunk adds strength and stability to the tree structure. 

CHECK OUT: Angie's List Guide to Tree Care and Services

2. New growth

A healthy tree produces new growth yearly on both its trunk and branches. Check the distance between this year’s buds and last year’s by looking for scars on the branch. Different trees have different growth patterns, so research your tree online to see what you should expect. 

3. Full branches

Dead and broken branches invite insects and diseases to enter a tree, so prune those away. Test to see if a branch is dead by scraping the branch with your thumbnail. Living branches show green underneath. Or gently bend a branch. Dead branches snap easily, while living branches will bend. 

MORE: 6 Reasons Why You Should Prune Your Trees

4. Strong bark

Bark should not be loose or peeling, except on certain trees such as birches and maples. Healthy trunks are free of fungi, dead branches, large holes and cracks. 

5. Lots of leaves

Check evergreen trees for sections without needles. Otherwise, check deciduous trees during peak blooming season. Bare patches could be a sign of damage from improper pruning, pesticide damage, pest infestation, disease or lack of nutrients. Check with a certified arborist to determine the exact cause. 

6. Healthy leaves

Check to see if leaves are the right color for the season. They should not be yellow (unless that’s their natural color), stunted or irregularly shaped. Leaves wilt and droop when trees are stressed due to drought, overwatering, too much or too little sun or diseases. Healthy leaves are a sign your tree is doing just fine.

RELATED: 5 Steps to Planting a Happy Tree

Strong trees have strong branches, trunks and roots. Not all tree risks are visible or obvious. Seek a consultation with a certified arborist to evaluate tree species, soil conditions, wind exposure, defects, overall health and other factors to determine if a tree is healthy.

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As of August 7, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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