Based in Naugatuck, CT, Hillview Tree Services is a full-service tree removal and stump grinding contractor serving New Haven & Litchfield Counties. Determining whether a tree is dead or dying and requires removal involves a combination of visual inspection and professional evaluation. Here are the steps and signs to help you assess the condition of your tree:

1. Examine the Leaves and Branches


  • Absence of Leaves: If a tree that should be in full leaf has bare branches during the growing season, it could be dead or dying.
  • Discolored or Wilted Leaves: Leaves that are yellowing, browning, or wilting can indicate disease, pest infestation, or root problems.
  • Sparse Foliage: A noticeable reduction in the density of leaves can signal declining health.


  • Dead Branches: Break off a small branch. If it snaps easily and is dry and brittle, it’s dead. Living branches should be flexible and green on the inside.
  • Bare Branches: Large sections of the tree without leaves can indicate that those branches are dead.
  • Excessive Dead Wood: A tree with many dead branches may be dying.

2. Inspect the Trunk

  • Bark Condition: Check for missing or peeling bark. This can indicate disease or decay.
  • Cracks and Cavities: Deep cracks in the trunk or large cavities can weaken the tree structurally.
  • Fungal Growth: Mushrooms or fungal growth on the trunk or base of the tree are signs of internal rot.
  • Insect Infestation: Look for signs of pests, such as boreholes, sawdust-like frass, or clusters of insects.

3. Check the Roots

  • Root Damage: If the roots are exposed and damaged, the tree’s stability can be compromised.
  • Fungal Growth: Similar to the trunk, fungal growth at the base indicates root decay.
  • Root Heaving: If the soil around the base is heaving or the tree is leaning, the roots may be damaged or decayed.

4. Assess Overall Structure and Stability

  • Leaning Tree: A tree that suddenly starts leaning is a sign of root or structural problems.
  • Unusual Growth Patterns: If the tree has developed an unusual shape or has an excessive number of sucker branches (small, weak branches growing from the base or along the trunk), it might be stressed or damaged.

5. Professional Evaluation

If you’re unsure about the condition of your tree, it’s best to consult the certified Naugatuck Tree Removal specialist at Hillview Tree Service. We can perform a thorough assessment, including:

  • Advanced Diagnostic Tests: Techniques like resistograph testing to measure wood density and check for internal decay.
  • Expert Opinion: Identifying diseases, pests, and structural issues that may not be obvious to an untrained eye.
  • Removal Recommendations: If the tree poses a hazard, they can advise on safe removal practices.


Regular monitoring of your tree’s health is essential to identify issues early. If you observe multiple signs of distress, it may indicate that the tree is dying and requires professional attention. Ensuring timely removal of dead or dying trees can prevent property damage and safety hazards.

Contact us today at (203) 206-5668 to schedule a no-cost consultation and estimate! You can click the following link to view our 5-star Google Reviews.