8 Reasons Homeowners Remove Trees

Trees That Have to Go Before Problems Grow

Removing a large, mature tree, is a major decision that homeowners don’t take lightly. While trees provide shade, beauty, and environmental benefits, there are valid reasons you may need to remove them from your property. Understanding why homeowners remove trees can help you evaluate your landscape and decide what’s best for your home.

1. Dead or Dying Trees

A dead or dying tree often needs removal because:

  • It will not recover or grow new leaves/needles
  • Disease and pests have damaged the tree beyond recovery
  • It poses a hazard as branches and the entire tree may fall

In some cases, the reasons why the tree is declining cannot be reversed realistically. Removing the tree while it still stands prevents future storm damage from causing branches or the trunk from falling and causing property destruction or injury.

2. Hazardous Trees

Trees that pose threats to people or property should be removed. Signs that a tree is hazardous and should come down include:

  • Damaged, cracked, or split trunks or major limbs
  • Branches hanging over your house that may fall and cause damage during storms
  • Large dead branches that may break and fall onto your home, vehicles, yard structures or walkways and driveways
  • New cracks or fungal growth at the tree’s base indicates structural root problems
  • Noticeable lean, which raises the chance of it falling as soil loosens over time

While pruning can remove dangerous branches, extensive decay and other defects usually require removing the entire tree, according to certified arborists. Pruning cannot “fix” foundational defects.

3. Avoiding Fires

Some trees and debris greatly raise fire risks around homes. Trees to consider removing due to fire hazards include:

  • Eucalyptus- These contain flammable oils and loose bark fuel fires. Grow within 30 feet of structures they may spread fires to homes.
  • Palm- Dry, dead fronds burn intensely and may ignite homes.
  • Pine- Pine needles provide fuel for fast-spreading fires to engulf homes.

Carefully pruning trees around the house helps reduce this danger. However, some experts recommend removing particularly flammable trees like eucalyptus if they overhang or grow too close to your home.

4. Trees Damaging Foundations

Trees and woody shrubs too close to your home can cause serious problems by raising sidewalks and patios from root growth, cracking basement walls from expanding roots or soil moisture changes, and blocking drainage and rain runoff, allowing water to penetrate.

Removing trees causing foundation damage prevents further repairs. Invasive tree roots can also grow into drainage pipes and sewer laterals, cracking the pipe joints. Then pipes must be dug up and replaced—an expensive, messy job. Eliminating root blockages may require removing the trees feeding the roots into the pipes.

5. Severely Damaged Trees

Trees severely damaged by storms may lose major limbs or lean precariously. If in danger of falling and unable to be corrected through cabling and bracing, removal may be necessary. Significantly damaged trees become hazards for falling branches or toppling entirely. They can also indicate internal trunk/limb cracks hidden within the tree’s crown, poised to break away under strain.

Damaged or fallen trees are also vulnerable to diseases and pests which may hasten their decline. These provide access for fungus and insects to penetrate inner bark and wood. Their structural integrity becomes severely compromised. At this point, the most prudent option is removing the tree if correction methods cannot support it safely long-term.

6. When Trees Outgrow Their Space

Sometimes previously planted trees grow wider, taller, or denser than anticipated. Overgrown trees often require removal when they:

  • Grow into roof overhangs or press against the house siding
  • Block or grow over windows, obscuring light into rooms
  • Their canopy and root systems are too large for the space
  • They hinder or block walkways
  • Tree canopy shades out grass or desired plants beneath

While pruning helps restrain overgrown trees, it’s only a temporary fix. To avoid continual pruning or obstructed areas in your landscape, removing misplaced trees allows replanting suitable species for each spot in your yard.

7. Diseased Trees

Sick trees may not recover despite your best efforts to restore their health. Trees with cankers, verticillium wilt, fire blight, Dutch elm disease, and other untreatable infections often decline steadily. As disease spreads internally, the risk of falling branches or blowing over in storms increases over time. Removing infected trees prevents transmission to nearby healthy trees and eliminates falling branch hazards.

8. Council or Utility Requests for Removal

Local city councils often request private property owners remove trees that:

  • Obstruct street signs and traffic sightlines
  • Grow under utility lines and may interfere with them
  • Have sustained damage and show risk of falling on roads, sidewalks or power lines

Utility companies similarly issue tree removal notices to homeowners when falling branches cut power or trees threaten crucial electric lines. Compliance ensures reliable services continue. Though you may not want to lose a tree, the legal risks of ignoring removal requests could be far worse.

How to Get Council Approval For Removing Trees

Most councils protect certain tree species and sizes by requiring permits before removing them on private property. Check your local area’s tree removal guidelines then submit the appropriate permit applications before cutting down protected trees. Requirements may include:

  • Listing tree species, size (diameter at breast height), and health conditions
  • Photos of the tree requested for removal
  • Reason the tree must be eliminated (disease, damage, hazard indications)
  • Replacement native tree species or payment to support city replanting.

Finally, make sure you hire a licensed and certified arborist to safely remove large, protected trees to meet code requirements. Failing to get a permit or injuring protected trees may lead to substantial fines. Consulting an arborist at the first sign a tree needs removal ensures you take the proper steps under local laws. Addressing tree issues promptly also prevents future damage from deteriorating conditions over time.


Removing prominent trees significantly alters your landscape but is sometimes necessary. Evaluate signs of decline and hazard risks of aging or damaged trees regularly. Catching problems early provides more options to save or replace trees appropriately.

Knowing when to remove trees also protects your home and family by preventing avoidable property damage or accidents from falling limbs and unhealthy tree issues left unaddressed.