Should I Remove My Tree?

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That old tree that’s still loved is starting to lean. Mature trees are beautiful but there does come a time when the risk of damage to people and property out weighs the beauty. Despite adding upwards of 10% in value to home a fallen tree can be costly so follow these tips on figuring out when its time to remove an old tree.

How to Inspect Your Trees

No one knows your trees as well as you. So after they leaf out in the spring, lose leaves in the fall or after a big storm, walk around & inspect these beauties. Inspect them top to bottom, noticing particularly changes in foliage, branches, roots, & bark. Here’s a few more tree inspection tips:

  • Inspect all sides of the tree, both up close & from a distance.
  • Check for cuts in the trunk or peeling bark.
  • Use binoculars to inspect the tree’s crown for dead wood & brown leaves.

Leaning Trees

Trees usually don’t grow straight & a little lean is normal. But when your tree starts resembling the ‘Tower of Pisa’ its time to take a closer look. This lean could be the result of poor weight distribution or anchor root damage & is likely unstable. This is a great time to call an arborist.

Tree Leaning Danger Signs

  • Cracked or moving soil at the base, especially on the side opposite the lean.
  • Exposed roots around the base of the tree that weren’t present before.

Tree Leaning Cures

  • Prune branches to distribute weight better on the lean side.
  • Brace the tree trunk with cables attached to stakes on opposite sides of the tree. (Make sure to pad the tree before placing cables around tender bark.)
  • Bind the leaning trunk to the stronger side keeping it stable & avoiding an eventual disaster.

Trees with Multiple Trunks

A tree with multiple trunks or with splits in one trunk can be quite unstable. V-shaped or U-shaped multiple trunks are weak points for mature trees & are another point to consider when evaluating removal. The connective wood where the trunks come together may lose strength & be more likely to split with age and when storms occur. You’ll want to look closely for cracks that extend deeply into the trunk.

An arborist can stabilize split trunks by attaching cables between trunks & branches high in the tree. Cables won’t repair existing damage but can increase the safety, especially in strong winds, extending the life of your tree & protecting your property.

What To Do

If you think your trees are changing or see one of the major warning signs these trees could be “hazard trees” trees likely to fall and destroy what’s near them. This could be your lawn, a car, the neighbor’s car, your home, or worse someone you love.

This is a good time to call a certified arborist. Contact the International Society of Arboriculture which maintains a list of certified arborists or simply do an online search.

An arborist can help save your tree or let you know if it’s beyond help. For example, bacteria or bugs could be harming your tree & an arborist’s inspection can diagnose properly. An arborist also can determine if your tree is decaying internally or something that may not yet be obvious.

Aborists can either fix the problem, or calculate the risk of the tree falling and the likely objects it could damage. That calculation will help you decide if it’s worth spending money to keep the tree alive and upright, remove the tree, or just let nature take its course and topple the tree at will. Before you try to fix a leaning tree yourself save yourself some time, money, and possibly damage by calling a certified arborist first.

Don’t ‘leaf’ the safety of your property to chance.

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What is an Arborist?

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You’ve heard the term tree hugger haven’t you? That’s what an arborist is on a small scale, we love trees! But we love them far more than just hugging, we want them to be  safe shelter and beautification to your home for many years to come. An arborist is an expert in what trees like and don’t like but most importantly, on how to help your trees live a long, healthy life.

What is a Certified Arborist?

You know what a Doctor is, someone who takes care of you and your family. An arborist is just that, but for trees. Various dictionaries give us the definition of an arborist clearly:

a specialist in the cultivation and care of trees and shrubs, including tree surgery, the diagnosis,treatment, and prevention of tree diseases, and the control of pests.”

Ar ~ bor ~ ist (-ist) n. An Arborist is a professional who is trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaning trees and other woody plants.”

An arborist is trained in the craft of caring for trees and shrubs. This expert skill includes not just pruning and removal of trees, but an in depth knowledge of tree systems and their interaction with the surrounding environment.

Why Choose an Arborist for Your Tree Care?

The decision to hire someone to work on your trees is not one to be rushed into. Arboricultural services can be extremely dangerous. Pruning and large tree removals should only be performed by trained professionals that have the experience to keep surrounding buildings and people safe. Improper tree services will not only damage your trees but could likely kill them and depreciate the value of your property in the process. 

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The title “ARBORIST” refers to a person who has gained the technical competence to correctly and efficiently care for trees and other woody plants. Arborists are generally called upon to evaluate the condition of trees, make recommendations for their care, and then provide services needed such as pruning, fertilization, and insect and disease control.

Learn more about being an Arborist at the International Association of Arboriculture. Above all, the arborist is a highly qualified professional who recognizes their responsibility is to maintain the value trees can add to life and property for your family, and generations to come.

When To Hire an Arborist?


Arborists can determine what type of pruning is best for the individual tree to maintain its health and improve its appearance and safety. Also, if pruning requires a ladder and a chainsaw, hire a professional.


Arborists can help determine whether or not a tree should be removed, though usually this is a last resort. Arborists have the skills and equipment to safely and efficiently remove trees. Tree removal is dangerous and should be done by a tree care professional.


Storms can cause major damage to limbs or entire trees. These trees need to be removed or trimmed to lessen the long-term damage to the tree and surrounding property. This is dangerous work and an arborist should be hired to perform this job safely.


Planting the right tree in the right place is important for the long term health of the tree. Arborists can recommend the appropriate tree for the desired location and assist in proper planting.


There are many other services that arborists provide when necessary such as fertilization, insect control, cabling, aeration, and lightning protection. Consulting with an arborist and establishing a plant health care plan will help determine when these services are necessary.

Truth:  Money spent on hiring an arborist is well worth it.

What can a certified arborist do for your trees, landscaping, & home besides being an excellent source of tree care service?

  • Provide expert witness testimony in cases involving damage or injury related to trees
  • Conduct appraisals of tree value in property insurance claims
  • Evaluate the environmental impact of land development
  • Guide the long-term planning for placement and maintenance of trees
  • Educate clients about the preservation of existing trees
  • Hazard Tree Assessments and Survey
  • Expert Witness and Litigation
  • Tree Management for Arboreta, Golf Courses, and Nurseries

Trees provide shelter, reduce heating/cooling bills, protect your home, and best of all add untold value to your home and surrounding property. Years of proper care by a certified arborist can be the difference so give us a call, we’d be happy to say hi to your trees and give you a free consultation.

Call Us Anytime with Tree or Shrub Questions 502-297-1578

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Kentucky Arborist Tree Care Service