Homeowners love their trees. They provide shade for guests; they provide a space to build a tree fort or a tire swing for the tykes; they make a property picturesque. So, it’s natural to want to save a tree, even if it is damaged in some way. Fortunately, in many cases, with proper tree care, a tree can be saved; even if it has seen better days. But how can you tell whether or not a tree can be saved? After all, some trees do need to be cut down. Well, let’s delve into the answer to that question. Here’s how you can tell if your tree might make a recovery or if it’s time to cut it down:

If Your Tree Is Sick

Trees are susceptible to succumb to damage from fungus and disease. If your tree is “sick” you’ll have a few tree-health indicators that you should observe:

The Tree Trunk

First of all, take a keen look at the trunk of your tree. Your trunk provides lifeblood to the rest of the tree. After all, all of the nutrients (aside from carbon dioxide) and moisture that nourish your tree are derived from the soil. If you have a tree trunk that is damaged due to disease, it’s very unlikely that your tree will survive. At best, a few branches of your tree may live through a disease. What’s more likely, however, is that your tree branches will be choked of their nutrients and hydration, thus killing the branches. Then, unfortunately, the tree limbs are liable to snap and damage your property and injure passersby. If your tree’s trunk is visibly damaged due to a disease or old age, it’s time to cut it down.

The Limbs & Leaves

OK, now let’s say that the trunk of your tree is intact and healthy; however, the limbs of your tree are not. It’s time to scrutinize the overall health of your tree. Take a look at the amount of limbs that are dead or dying. Are there several limbs that are dry, brittle, and easy to break? Are there several limbs that aren’t producing leaves? If 50 percent or more of the branches of your tree are in poor health, your tree may be approaching the end of its life.

Other Indicators

Take a look at the bark of your tree. Bark is a protective barrier, staving off disease, pests, and temperature changes. If the bark of your tree is damaged, or missing altogether, it’s time to take action (and it may be too late to save your tree).

Also, consider the age of your tree. Like any other living thing, trees have a life expectancy. Older trees simply stop growing and thriving. Do some research for the tree species that you have. What is its life expectancy? If your tree is simply crumbling due to old age, it may be time to cut it down safely.

Seek Advisement

Are you uncertain as to whether your tree is on its last leg or if it will recover? Seek out advisement from a tree care specialist. If you live here in the Houston area, you can count on us to analyze the health of your tree. We’ll let you know if your tree is going to make a recovery. If so, we can provide tree preservation services… If not, we can cut down your tree, and we also provide stump grinding services.

If Your Tree Is Damaged

Now, your tree might not be “sick,” it may have just endured a catastrophic event. Trees can be damaged by wind, lightning, the occasional out-of-control car, animals, and other physical forces. If your tree has endured damage from one of these events, it’s more likely to overcome the damage. Let’s take a look at each injury and the likelihood of recovery:


Wind can knock over even the strongest trees. Larger trees are often more liable to fall under the force of wind, since their roots can’t bare the forces applied against the mass of leaves within their canopies. Fortunately, wind will likely knock off already dead branches before blowing over the tree as a whole. So long as your tree is still standing, it’s very likely that it will continue to thrive after heavy winds. If your tree is leaning, it may be best to anchor the tree (for safety reasons and for the health of the tree), or you may have to cut your tree down.


Lightning strikes trees often. Since these gentle giants are just that – giant – they’re a common target for lightning strikes. If lightning hits a tree on your property, it has about a 50/50 percent chance of survival. Lightning actually vaporizes the water within a tree, causing structural damage and damage to the bark of the tree. However, if a tree is quite saturated from rain water prior to a bolt, the tree is actually more protected from damage. Trees that have water residing on the surface of their bark are more likely to pass electricity around the bark, instead of directly through the center of the tree. If your tree has been shocked by lightning, take a look at the depth of the damage. If the damage appears to have only affected the surface, the tree will likely survive the event.

Cars, Animals, and Other Blunt Forces

Once again, if your tree experiences damage from a blunt force, it’s time to take a look at the trunk of your tree. In short, if your tree trunk is intact and the majority of its branches are undamaged, its likelihood of survival is high. If your tree has suffered significant damage to its trunk, or to several of its largest limbs, the tree will likely die. If you’re uncertain, it’s best to seek advice from a tree care specialist…

JRP Services Tree Care

JRP Services is proud to bring professional tree care services to folks throughout Houston. We provide all-inclusive tree care services, from tree preservation, to tree trimming, to tree removal. If you’re worried about the health of your tree, we can provide you with sound advice as to the action you should take. Learn more about our tree services, or get in touch with us to schedule an appointment!