Oct 22, 2021
Autumn is a good time to do a number of things around the house. You’ve likely already started preparing for winter, trimming back some of your plants, and doing other maintenance tasks that are perfectly suited for brisk fall days. There may be at least one big task that needs to be done that you haven’t even considered, though: cutting down that tree that you’ve been worried about for ages.
It may seem strange to think of a project as major as cutting down a tree as especially well-suited for autumn, but there are actually a few reasons why this is the perfect time of year to bring that tree down. If you’re on the fence, here’s some advice on how to tell whether the tree really needs to come down and how to make sure that you bring it down safely.
Why Autumn?Though bringing down a tree can be done at any time during the year, there are a few reasons why you should give it extra consideration during autumn. Cutting down a tree in the fall can help prevent regrowth, as sap will rise during the day and then can freeze during the cold overnight and kill the roots and stump. Even if it’s not cold enough to freeze, the fall cutting will weaken the roots and remaining stump and greatly decrease the likelihood of regrowth.
This isn’t the only reason to cut down trees in the fall, though, and not even the most important reason. If you’re cutting down a tree, it most likely has significant damage or disease and will become a hazard eventually if it isn’t already. Dead and damaged trees are much more likely to fall or split during the winter as water penetrates the damaged sections and freezes; cutting down the tree in the fall prevents this from happening, giving you control over when and how the tree falls instead of leaving it up to chance.
Inspecting Your TreeWhen trying to decide whether a tree needs to be cut down, there are a few things that you should look for. Significant damage to the tree is a big one, and one of the most obvious; this can be storm damage, lighting strikes, or other types of damage, and should be pretty obvious just from looking at the tree. Splits, cracks, and holes in the trunk revealing that at least part of it is hollow make this sort of damage very obvious. At the very least you should remove damaged or dead limbs before winter, and if the damage is significant then the whole tree should come down.
There’s more than just physical damage that can indicate a tree needs to come down, though. Signs of disease such as large sections of dead leaves, discoloration on the trunk, and smells or visual signs of rot can also mean it’s time to cut down the tree. Mushrooms or other signs of fungus can also mean that the tree has a significant fungal infection, especially if the mushrooms are growing on the trunk or out of exposed roots. Infestation by insects or other pests can also indicate a problem with one of your trees, as these can eventually kill the tree and make it much more likely to fall.
Any of these problems could result in a weakened or internally damaged tree that could come crashing down under the weight of winter snow and ice.