How to Know if a Tree Is Dead

Are you a homeowner in North Carolina concerned there is a dying tree in your yard? An unhealthy tree can start as a minor inconvenience to you, but if left untreated, it can become a dead tree.

This increases the chances of wood rot and falling when you least expect it! Don’t ignore the early signs that you have a tree in trouble.

Read on to learn how to know if a tree is dead and the steps to take now!

Perform the Scratch Test

If you are asking the question, ‘Is my tree dead or dormant?’, one great way to find out is by performing the scratch test. Carefully handle a sharp knife and locate a couple of branches that are within your reach.

Press the knife against the surface of the branch and cut off a thin layer of the branch. This portion doesn’t need to be any longer than one inch. What do you see below the surface where you cut?

If you see a greenish hue, this is a sign that the tree is still growing. If you don’t, it can be a tell-tale sign that your tree is dead or dying. Don’t ignore these signs and wait until you have an emergency with your tree!

The Presence of Mushrooms and Fungi

Among one of the most common signs of a dead tree is the presence of mushrooms and fungi at its base. Do you see mushrooms or other fungi at the base of your tree?

Mushrooms and fungi begin to grow at the base of a tree because they are feeding off the wood rot or dying roots. The more mushrooms that you see, the more likely it is that your roots are in deep decay.  

Look for Hanging Branches 

Hanging branches can be one of the signs of a dying tree. It’s important to keep in mind that not all hanging branches are evidence that your tree is in decline. 

Depending on the age and size of your tree, if you’ve had recent storms or heavy winds, this can cause a branch to droop or hang. When you notice a group of branches that are drooping without new leaves, this is a sign that your tree is in trouble. 

How to Know if a Tree is Dead

Now that you’ve learned how to know if a tree is dead, you should pay attention to these signs with trees in your yard. Don’t ignore what you see because doing that can put you at risk of the tree falling. 

This can put you and your family’s safety at risk! Instead, when you see signs of tree decay, call a professional tree service with a strong reputation in your area.

At Frady Tree Care, we a licensed arboricultural firm with more than 100 years of experience in the industry. We provide trusted service in Charlotte, NC, and the surrounding areas.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you!


Frady Tree Care has the most reliable and professional tree services in the Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Clemmons & High Point, NC areas! Our team is a third-generation certified and fully-insured arboriculture firm. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we are the tree service experts you can trust.


Charlotte Office

8640 Charlotte University City Blvd.  Suite A3-241        Charlotte, NC 28213
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Lexington Office

402 W. 4th Avenue,    Lexington, NC 27292
Phone : (336) 236-1006

Salisbury Office

1460 Henderson Grove Church Rd,
Salisbury, NC 28147
Phone : (704) 644-2516

Winston-Salem Office

1035 Shalimar Drive.      Winston-Salem, NC 27107
Phone : (336) 236-1006

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