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How to Tell if a Tree is Dead Your Complete Dead Tree Removal Guide Featured Image

How to Tell if a Tree is Dead: Your Complete Dead Tree Removal Guide

Are you worried that a dead tree might fall on your home?

Not sure if those wilted leaves are a sign that your tree is dying?

Concerned about just how dangerous a dead tree really is?

This is the guide for you. 

Milone’s Tree and Lawn Solutions serves the Werribee, Melbourne and Geelong areas with professional tree removal, tree trimming and stump grinding. We know a thing or two about identifying and dealing with dead trees. 

In this complete tree removal guide, we’ll answer all of your most pressing questions about what to do with that dead or dying tree in your yard.


How to Tell if a Tree is Dead Your Complete Dead Tree Removal Guide Image


Are dead trees dangerous?

Dead and dying trees almost always pose some sort of threat to your safety and your property. The worst case scenario is when a dead tree is close to your home or even hanging over it. That is an immediate risk that you want to take care of as soon as possible.

If a tree is dying in woodlands on your property or in lawn space that is far from your home, the danger may seem a little less immediate. However, you still need to weigh the risk of personal injuries. Do your kids ever play near these trees? Do neighbors ever walk under them or park their cars in the vicinity.

Page 2 of TIO’s fact sheet on fallen trees

Do take practical steps to help prepare for storms by removing dead or rotting trees, and trim branches that overhang the property (do it safely and remember that a permit from your council may be required) – TIO Insurance



Why is a dead tree dangerous?

Dead trees are so dangerous because of how unpredictably they can drop heavy pieces. A strong wind could send a branch flying. If it falls near your home, then your exterior, roofing and windows are likely the first exterior elements to suffer damage.

Even solar panels which can withstand extreme weather are commonly damaged by fallen dead tree limbs. Its one of the reasons many solar providers recommend removing trees for a solar panel installation.

Furthermore, when a tree snaps at the trunk the damage could be catastrophic. The wood of an average gumtree weighs around 400 to 600 kg per cubic metre. Imagine a massive chunk of that falling head long on to your rooftop. Beyond the obvious damage to your home, you are also looking at the destruction of valuables stored inside—as well as the potential for serious bodily injury.


Dangerous Dead Tree Removal Australia


What happens if you don’t cut down a dead tree?

To quote an overused but fitting analogy: a dead tree is like a ticking time bomb. It is going to fall over or drop branches eventually. You just can’t predict when. So every day you let a dying tree remain on your property, you are accepting the risk that it poses.

There is also a less well-known effect of keeping a dead tree on your property: pests and disease. Some trees die because of fungal infection or other diseases. If this is the case for yours, you risk letting the infection spread to other vegetation. Additionally, termites, rats and other pests like to nest in rotting wood. So you want to get rid of your dead trees before these squatters move in.

To see a list of common tree diseases, click here.


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Are dead trees easier to remove?

Unfortunately, no. 

You might think that because the wood is softer or more brittle, a dead tree is easier to cut apart. But really, the crumbling nature and unpredictable behavior of dying wood means that a lot more care needs to be taken to remove a dead tree.

The problem actually gets worse the longer the tree has been dead. A very large tree that has been decomposing for a long time can be really dangerous to remove. This is another reason that you want to attend to dying trees as soon as you notice them.


Dead Tree Removal Melbourne


What does it cost to remove a dead tree?

According to an article by Canstar, the average or typical cost of removing a tree across Australia is about $1,434. However, it says that the range of prices for individual jobs can vary widely – from $350 to $4,500 – depending on the circumstances.

Prices can also vary a lot depending on the particular situation. The cost to cut down a dead tree in the middle of the woods is going to be lower than a tree overhanging your garage, for example, because of the care and equipment required.

For instance, Palm Tree removal will require more hours compared to removing a Cypress Pine Tree. As Palm Trees are top heavy due and most of the time required a Elevated Work Platform (or cherry picker) to take it down in sections.

Dead tree stump removal can also affect the price. Some homeowners are happy to save a little bit of money by keeping the stump in their yard (they can actually make for some inspiring landscaping ideas!).

This is why Milone’s Tree and Lawn Solutions always provides a customised quote. If you are curious about what your tree removal service would cost, you can request your free, no-obligation quote today.


Cost of removing dead trees melbourne


8 signs of a dead or dying tree

It’s actually not always easy to know if a tree is dead or alive. Because the symptoms take so long to progress, a tree may be dead for a long time before you actually realise it. Here are 9 signs to look out for to help determine the status of your trees.


Dead or dying tree limbs with little foliage are most at risk of falling during storms. The risk can be reduced by removing dead wood in the canopy. – Preventionweb

If your trees exhibit one or more of these, it doesn’t always mean that the tree is dead. However, it is a good sign that you should contact a professional for diagnosis.

Excessive Fallen Branches

Many trees are naturally self-pruning. They will often drop small branches or sticks, and occasionally even large ones. However, when a tree is dropping dead wood very regularly, something isn’t right. It could be a sign that your tree is dying and needs to be removed.


Excessive fallen branches dying tree melbourne


Shedding Bark

Bark provides vital moisture regulation in trees. If it is shedding or peeling off, it’s a sign that your tree is lacking important nutrients. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the tree is dying, but it could warn you that you need to take action to keep the tree alive. Bark problems are often a symptom of disease, so you may want to get a professional opinion about treatment options before the tree dies or spreads the infection.


Signs of a Dying tree Melbourne

Leaning Trunk

Trees should generally grow in an upward, mostly vertical direction. If you are noticing the tree starting to lean over, it could be a sign of root damage or deterioration. The roots aren’t strong enough to keep the tree in place anymore, so likely the tree will need to be removed.


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Dry, Cracked Soil

If the soil around a tree is excessively dry and cracked, it could mean the roots aren’t getting enough water. This isn’t a big problem if it’s just a temporary occurrence due to a dry spell in your area. But if it persists, you may need to find ways to ensure the tree receives better watering. Otherwise, you could soon have a dead tree on your hands.


Dry Cracked Soil Dead Tree Removal


Cracks in the Trunk

Large open wounds or deep cracks in the trunk can be disastrous for trees. They sometimes cause the tree to die, such as when a lightning strike damages the trunk and leads to the beginning of the end. Other times, a cracked trunk is just a symptom of an underlying issue that is already causing the tree to die. 

Either way, if your tree has trunk damage, you should get an expert to look at it sooner rather than later.


Cracked Tree Trunk Removal Melbourne


Dead Leaves

Lush, vibrant leaf growth is the sign of a healthy tree. When leaves are dying prematurely, it means that something is keeping nutrients from flowing properly. Sometimes, it might just occur on one side of the tree or a single patch. Other times, it affects the entire tree. Regardless, it means that your tree isn’t healthy and needs professional care.


Australian Dead Tree Removal


Pest Infestation

Termites, wasps, beetles, and other insects can be either a cause or a result of a dead tree. When pests move into a healthy tree and remain untreated, they can sap it of nutrients, destroy the bark, damage the trunk or cause a host of other issues. 

On the other hand, when a tree dies, the rotting wood makes for an inviting home for unwanted pests. So if you have an infested tree, it could be a sign that it is dead already.


Infested Tree Removal Melbourne


Visible Rot or Fungus

Rotting is pretty easy to spot: random, unexplained patches of dead or crumbling wood. Tree fungus can usually be identified by patches of discoloration or strange growth on branches, leaves or bark. Fungus on the bark may take the form of large “scabs”, which look like large bumpy growths.


Fungus Infested Tree Removal Melbourne
Polypores – source : Wikipedia


How do you get rid of a dead tree?

If you are pretty sure that your tree is dead or dying, the most important thing is to act fast. The longer you delay, the more danger the tree poses and the more difficult it will be to remove.

Before we talk about the right way to get rid of a tree, let’s talk about what NOT to do:

Don’t attempt DIY tree removal

You might be tempted to remove your own tree. While this could work with a little 3-metre sapling that you don’t want around any more, there are some serious reasons that you don’t want to attempt most tree removal on your own:

It’s dangerous. There are a lot of things that can go wrong when cutting down a tree. Branches or the entire tree could fall on you, your property, or your family. There is also a risk that you could fall from a dangerous height since larger trees are typically removed in pieces from the top.

It could void your insurance. If you attempt do-it-yourself tree removal and end up damaging your property, you might have to pay for it out of pocket. Many homeowner’s insurance policies will require you to employ a qualified professional. Doing the work yourself could be viewed by your insurer as putting your property at unnecessary risk.

Related article: DIY Tree Stump Removal


A tree limb came down on the roof of Seville Primary School. –


Don’t settle for an amateur tree removal service

Instead of doing it yourself, you may also be tempted to hire an amateur to do the job. For example, you might find someone advertising tree removal on Facebook, Gumtree or Airtasker or even hire a family member who has done some of their own tree work.

Unfortunately, you could still face a lot of the same issues posed by DIY tree removal. Amateurs are unlikely to be insured. Therefore, any damage to your property could mean that you have to pay for it or you will need to go through a lengthy legal process in order to get the responsible party to pay.

Furthermore, tree removal is a specialised task. If you hire someone without the proper equipment, training, experience and qualifications, the chances of something going wrong are much higher. Dead trees are already a hassle; don’t make the problem worse by hiring someone who isn’t fit for the job.


Professional Tree Removal Milones


What to look for in a professional tree removal service

The best way to deal with dead trees is to hire a professional tree removal service. But how do you know if you are choosing the right one? Good tree removers share these three qualities:

Appropriate qualifications

Your tree service professionals should be licensed and experienced in your specific needs. For example, many companies do not actually employ arborists. A qualified arborist specialises in everything related to tree care. Rather than jumping straight to cutting down a tree, an arborist will be able to determine if a tree is actually dead, decide if it is able to be saved, and present you with the most appropriate course of action based on your situation.

In addition to employing certified arborists, Milone’s also never uses subcontractors. That way, we always know that our tree removal experts are qualified and trained for the job.

Up-to-date insurance

As mentioned previously, hiring an insured tree remover is vital if you want to avoid incurring the cost of damages. Always ask the company to provide a certificate of currency to show that their insurance is up-to-date. You may also want to inquire about their total coverage, especially if the tree work will be done near your home. For example, Milone’s carries public liability insurance cover of up to $20 million so that our customers always have peace of mind.

Modern equipment and safe practices

To help mitigate the chance of accidents and the need to rely on insurance, you also want to ensure that your company is using the latest in tree removal technology and safety practices. Dull blades, worn straps and hasty work can spell disaster. A professional tree company will make the safety of their staff paramount so that their customers receive the best service possible.


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Contact Milone’s for professional tree inspection and removal!

Whether you know your tree is dead and want it gone ASAP, or you just need a professional opinion on the best course of action, Milone’s is here for you. Reach out today for the expert tree removal you deserve in Werribee, Melbourne, Geelong and the surrounding regions.

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