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Should I Prune Dead Tree Branches?

When Should I Prune Dead Tree Branches?

Should I Prune Dead Tree Branches?

It’s not uncommon for tree branches to decay and die. Even if the tree trunk and the rest of the canopy is healthy, one or more branches may already be dead.

As a result, you might be wondering whether you should prune dead tree branches or simply leave them in place and let nature take its course.

While tree branches can die for a variety of reasons, pruning them is almost always beneficial and the safe thing to do.

By removing dead tree branches, the tree will regrow new branches.

Pruning dead tree branches offers the following benefits when done correctly.

Pruning Reduces the Risk of Infection

Dead tree branches can often lead to infection.

Once a branch dies and begins to rot, the bark covering the branch will fall off. Aside from being an eyesore, bark-less branches allow fungi and bacteria to enter the tree with greater ease.

As the infection-causing microbe begins to reproduce, it can spread to other parts of the tree, potentially killing it.

To protect trees from infection, you should prune dead or otherwise unhealthy tree branches, especially those with little or no protective bark.

Get a FREE tree evaluation from Quinlan Tree Service if you see any dead or leafless branches on your trees.  Call 248-363-8500, someone always answer your call and we can schedule a good time to look at your trees.

Pruning Can Treat Existing Infections

Pruning dead tree branches can also treat existing infections.

If a branch is obviously dead – to the point where it’s decaying and crumbling – the tree may already be suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection. There are literally hundreds of bacterial and fungal infections to which trees are susceptible.

But depending on the particular type of infection, it may be localized, meaning pruning the affected branch or branches will help control it.

Pruning Removes Unstable Tree Branches That May Fall

Another reason to prune dead tree branches is to reduce the risk of bodily injury and property injury.

Dead tree branches generally won’t fall on their own – not without a little help from Mother Nature, at least. When a severe storm rolls in, the wind and rain can snap dead tree branches. And if the branch overhangs your property, it could cause damage or bodily injury.

To prevent this from happening, you should prune all dead tree branches.

This is very important for those homeowners living around our lakes here in Oakland County, Michigan.  A dead branch on a tree 50 feet or more from the house can be blown that distance with the way lakes funnel the wind. 

Pruning Discourages Pests

Dead tree branches are a source of food for many pests, including the all-too-destructive termites.

If a branch dies and you don’t prune it, termites or other pests may feast on it. You can keep pests at bay, by pruning dead branches.

As soon as you spot a dead or leafless branch, prune it to discourage pests.

Saving Your Tree and Money.

By pruning dead or leafless branches, you can see from above how this can save your tree, but it also saves you money.  With tree pruning being a fraction of the cost, compared to removing a dead or diseased tree.  Plus, you don’t lose the landscape value and other benefits of having a mature tree.

To get your FREE tree care evaluation, please call 248-363-8500 or email us at

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