Can A Half-Dead Tree Be Saved?

 In Inexpensive Tree Care Blog

Can a half-dead tree be saved? We have to admit that when we hear this question from clients and potential clients — and we hear it a lot — we have to laugh just a little. Not because it’s a silly question; it isn’t. We chuckle because it reminds us of the scene in “Princess Bride” when Miracle Max tells the fellas that Westley is only “mostly dead” and thus “slightly alive.”

Can trees be mostly dead — and thus slightly alive? And can a half-dead tree be saved? The short answer is YES.

The slightly longer answer is that trees are never half-dead or half-alive or mostly dead or slightly alive. If a tree is not dead, it is alive and can thus be restored to its full glory. In most cases, anyway.

The Old Apple Tree Story

Consider the 194-year-old Old Apple Tree in Vancouver, Washington. It was touted as the oldest apple tree in the Pacific Northwest. Arborists had a good look at it, though, and this is what they found, according to The Columbian newspaper.

“Dying leaves suddenly appeared throughout the tree, which prompted the city’s Urban Forestry staff to do a quick checkup,” The Columbian reported. “Arborists then conducted a thorough evaluation, and they found that the vascular system or cambium layer of the tree — which transports water and nutrients to the canopy — had shut down. Charles Ray, urban forester with the city, said this was largely attributed to a spiral crack in the trunk expanding. Hot weather exacerbated the problem.”

So you see, a lot goes into determining if a tree is dead or not. However, even with that spiral crack leading to rot and decay in the Old Apple Tree’s trunk, “the leaves and branches of the tree were healthy and growing, and the tree continued to flower and produce apples.”

So it, too, was only mostly dead.

In fact, the offspring of The Old Apple Tree should last far into the future.

“Death is a relative term,” the Columbian story continues. “The roots of the Old Apple Tree should carry on for another 200 years. The city and Old Apple Tree Research Team planned for this moment by nurturing several root suckers, which have produced small trees growing around the Old Apple Tree.”

Saving A Half-Dead Tree

So can a half-dead tree be saved? It depends. In many cases, the answer is a resounding YES! And in other cases, the answer is NO — with the possibility of renewed life from root systems that still have the capacity to sustain tree life.

A few things to keep in mind that may help prevent tree calamity from befalling you in the first place: proper pruning, removing dead branches, monitoring overall tree health, and addressing signs of a dying tree and other tree problems before they become too big to manage.

Do you have a tree that needs some TLC? Have an expert and certified arborist from Inexpensive Tree Care take a look. We can determine steps to save even the most mostly dead tree on your property. Plus, if we determine that saving the tree is beyond even our tree care powers, we can remove it for you. If we can save a dying tree, however, we will do so.

We have years of experience with healthy trees as well as sick or dying trees, examining tree roots systems, determining if a tree is dying, plus all sorts of garden-variety and not so common tree problems. We know what to look for — from the base of the tree (or base of the trunk) to scratch tests and other tricks of the trade.

Inexpensive Tree Care in Portland OR is your go-to for all your tree service and care needs. Give us a call today!

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