Tree – When to Take Down

Q: I have a large silver maple that has a full canopy of leaves and looks very healthy on top, but has several mushroom conks growing on the trunk, and some obvious trunk decay on one side of the tree. It is close to my house and deck.

Several tree companies (2 were certified arborists) have told me it has to come down. 

Is there any harm in trying this since it still has all it’s leaves and looks very healthy? Is there any way to know how severe the internal trunk damage is?

A: In my opinion this is a dangerous tree and should be removed ASAP.

The conks on the trunk and the discolored/missing bark tell me it has serious trunk weakening. The roots on the side with missing bark are mostly gone, which means the tree has little anchoring on that side.

Despite having lots of leaves, this tree is not healthy.

If it were in another location, you might leave it in place and see what happens. But since it is close to your house, your safety is at stake.

Certified arborists are trained to assess the health and safety of trees. They don’t want to take down trees unless there is a reason to do so. Some work for tree removal companies but others are independent and will give you their assessment without offering to do the job for you.

You can find a list of certified arborists at

  • Advertisement