If your tree has several dead branches or has needed several branches removed lately, that could be a sign that the tree was neglected in the past. Or it could be a sign that the tree is simply in bad shape and starting to decline, whether due to old age, stress, or disease. In many cases, this will lead to tree removal. Here are a few potential reasons for branch loss that could result in needing your tree removed.
1. Fungal or bacterial disease
A fungus or bacteria eating away at the inside of a tree can cause it to become structurally unstable. Some of these may start out on one branch and kill it, and then move on to other branches and eventually to the tree's trunk. Others may start out in the root systems, causing branches to die as the roots become unable to function and provide water and nutrients.
2. Water stress
A stressed tree may sometimes lose branches because it simply doesn't have the resources to keep the entire tree alive. For example, in drought conditions, some trees will start to die off from the lowest branches first. If the tree subsequently gets enough water, the parts of the tree that haven't died yet will revive but the dead branches won't.
However, water stress can definitely kill a tree outright, requiring tree removal, if not remedied. In some cases, the tree may lose all its leaves and you'll have to wait until next spring to see which of the branches are dead and if the tree needs to be removed.
3. Soil problems
Many soil problems can cause trees to die off, including excessive salt content, agricultural chemicals in the soil (such as herbicides), too much fertilizer, and soil that's totally devoid of nutrients. In some cases, such as with salt buildup in the soil, you may observe signs such as branch dieback before the tree succumbs.
4. Weakness from old age or poor structure
Some trees become weaker and more brittle as they age. Others have weak structures due to poor pruning early in their life cycle. Either way, the weak structure may cause branches to fall and may eventually kill the tree, whether due to diseases entering the wounds or because of trunk splitting. Or the tree could outright fall over. In any case, a tree this weak that keeps dropping branches for seemingly no reason is a hazard that should be removed as soon as possible.
These causes of branch loss could eventually kill your tree. Some are deadly enough that you may as well have your tree removed proactively. (For instance, a tree that's old and weak may keep dropping branches due to brittle wood, and even bracing it may not keep it from being a hazard.) For more information, contact a tree removal service today.
To learn more, contact a resource like Pete & Ron's Tree Service, Inc.