Winter Is Best Time to Recognize, Remove, and Recycle Dead Trees

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Homeowners take note: Winter is the best time to remove dead or dying trees, which aren't only ugly, but also present a real safety hazard. Not sure if your tree is in trouble? Lou Giroud Tree Service offers four easy steps to finding out.

It's winter. Almost every tree is bare, and just about all plant life looks dead. The good news is that most plants are simply dormant. Come spring they'll re-dress themselves in brilliant green, and we're all joyfully awaiting that transformation. But some plants aren't merely dormant--they're actually as dead as they look. Does it matter whether we can tell the difference now, in winter? Giroud Tree Service reports that when it comes to trees, the sooner you know, the better.

That's because winter is the best possible time to remove dead trees and ugly stumps. A crane, a stump machine and other equipment can generally be brought closer to the removal site than they can during the other seasons, when the ground is soft. In addition, the impact on then-dormant lawns, shrubbery and flower beds is minimal.

"You can get a sense of whether a tree is in serious decline or already dead by doing a few basic tests," said Mike Chenail, an ISA Certified Arborist employed with Lou Giroud Tree Service in Pennsylvania's Huntingdon Valley. "If your tree displays any of the following warning signs, you should have an arborist do a thorough evaluation and determine the best course of action."

  •     Did the tree show signs of stress last summer? Premature development of autumn leaf colors, early leaf drop, abnormally small or pale leaves, or new growth that wilted are all indicators of a potential problem.
  •     Is the bark peeling from the trunk? Gently pull on a piece of bark. It shouldn't break off easily.
  •     Are twigs and buds developing normally? Scrape either a twig or bud with your thumbnail. It should be a healthy green, not brown or otherwise discolored.
  •     Is new growth surviving the strains of winter? When you try to bend a twig, does it snap because it's dry and brittle?

A dead or dying tree will be an eyesore amid the beauty of spring and summer landscaping, and it will also be a safety hazard--with the potential to injure people or cause costly damage. A storm can easily topple a dead tree because it no longer has a thriving root system to keep it stable. If your arborist suggests removal, it's best to take heed.

While it's always sad to lose a tree, there are many ways to ensure that it's not wasted. Giroud Tree Service crews, for example, take the wood from their tree care operations to a recycling center, where the chips are made into mulch and the hardwood into firewood. No matter who removes a tree from your property, be sure to look into ways to put it to good future use.

About Lou Giroud Tree Service
Giroud Tree Service has been dedicated to keeping trees healthy and customers happy since 1974. Serving Pennsylvania's Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, the company specializes in property inspections, diagnosis and testing, tree and shrub care, insect and disease control, tick control, deer repellent, brush clearing, fertilizing, and tree and stump removal. All Giroud arborists are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The company earned the Angie's List Super Service Award® for 2005, 2006, and 2007, as well as the Consumers' CHECKBOOK top rating for quality. For more information, visit their website at or call them at 215-682-7704.

In 1997, Giroud Tree Service established Giroud Treework for Charity, through which parks, historical sites and other local nonprofit, nonsectarian organizations can receive free help in preserving their irreplaceable trees. To learn more or request an application, visit and scroll to the bottom of the webpage, or call 215-682-7704.


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Cindy Giroud
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