Hamilton, Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Brantford, Brant: 905‑529‑5612

Burlington, Waterdown: 905‑637‑1919

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Identifying Deadwood and What to Do Next

Reviving your tree: the art of deadwood management for healthy trees

Deadwood is a natural part of a tree's life cycle, serving as habitat for wildlife and contributing to ecosystem diversity. However, when deadwood accumulates excessively or poses safety risks, strategic management becomes essential.

What is deadwood? 

Deadwood refers to branches or parts of a tree that have died and are no longer actively growing. Deadwood can occur for various reasons, including age, disease, pests, environmental stress, or physical damage. It is a natural part of a tree's life cycle, and while some degree of deadwood is normal, excessive or concentrated deadwood can be an indication of underlying health issues.

Deadwood can become brittle and prone to falling, especially during storms or high winds. Additionally, decay in deadwood can spread to adjacent live wood, further compromising the overall health of the tree.

Why does deadwood occur? 

Many reasons, including: 

Natural Aging - As trees age, some branches naturally die off. This is part of the tree's life cycle, and the process of shedding deadwood helps allocate resources to healthier, more active parts of the tree.

Diseases - Fungal infections, bacterial diseases, or infestations by pests can cause the death of tree tissues. The affected branches may become necrotic and form deadwood.

Environmental Stress - Trees may experience stress due to factors such as drought, extreme temperatures, or soil compaction. Environmental stress can weaken branches and lead to the development of deadwood.

How do I identify deadwood? 

Look for the following characteristics of deadwood: 

No Foliage or Buds - Deadwood lacks leaves, needles, or any sign of new growth. It appears barren compared to live branches.

It is Brittle, Dry and Inflexible - Try bending it. If it breaks, its dead. Live branches are supple and can bend, while dead branches break easily.

Colour Changes - The color of deadwood can change, becoming gray, brown, or even black, depending on the tree species and the stage of decay.

Fungal Growth - Deadwood can attract fungi, which may appear as mushrooms, conks, or other fungal structures. Fungi play a role in the decomposition of deadwood.

What is deadwooding and why should I do it?

Deadwooding is the process of pruning and removing dead branches and limbs from a tree's canopy. At Beswick, we take great care and use the proper tools to avoid damaging the healthy parts of your tree. We'll leave your tree looking refreshed and like new! 

There are many reasons to deadwood a tree: 

Safety and Risk Reduction - Deadwood poses a safety risk, especially during storms or high winds. Dead or weak branches are more likely to break and fall, posing a danger to nearby surroundings. 

Disease Prevention - Deadwood is often a sign of disease or pest infestation. Removing dead branches helps prevent the spread of diseases to healthy parts of the tree. By removing deadwood, the tree can redirect resources, such as nutrients and water, to healthier parts of the tree. This promotes overall well-being. 

Beauty - Deadwood simply does not look attractive and can detract from what would otherwise be a beautiful tree. 

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