When a tree is displaying signs of trouble, you have two options: tree trimming or tree removal. Tree trimming often allows the plant to rebound by helping it save some energy. Conversely, if the plant is in bad enough shape, you might need to contact a tree removal professional.

How do you decide where tree trimming or removal is the right solution? Here are five things to watch out for as you make this decision.

Unhealthy Lower Branches

Especially with older and larger trees, the plant can exhaust its ability to maintain all of its branches. You'll often see evidence of this problem when a tree has healthy upper branches by unhealthy lower ones. This is often evident at the extremities of long branches in the lower areas. Generally, these trees are prime candidates for trimming.

Dangerous Height

Some species of trees lack sufficient roots to maintain extreme heights. This doesn't necessarily stop them from reaching them, though. Frequently, these trees have shallow roots, and they can become unanchored in high windows. Eventually, the soil in the shallow root system loosens up too much, and the height and weight of the tree cause it to fall. Willows, maples, ashes, and some oaks fit in this category.

In this scenario, removal is often the best option. Bear in mind that you'll have to fill the hole that's created.

Bug Infestations

Bugs don't necessarily kill all trees, but they can send a tree on the road to its demise. Oftentimes, the first sign of trouble is that birds start to like pecking at the tree. If the bark looks healthy and the leaves at the extremities are still growing, then it's no big deal. You might not have to do anything. However, if the tree begins to get unhealthy, it's time to remove it.

Rot and Hollowing

If you see signs of rot in the center of the trunk of a tree, that's a bad sign. If you identify the problem early and the damage is neat the extremities, it might be possible for a technician to trim the tree. However, a decaying tree is a major hazard. When in doubt, you should have a professional inspect the tree and determine whether removal is a good choice.


The appearance of blotches or flakes on the bark or leaves may be a sign of trouble. If a tree becomes diseased, the best course of action is removal. This is especially the case if the tree has a blight that could spread to other trees.