chopped down tree

Most people living in suburban or rural areas can probably look out the window and see a tree or two right now. If you’re reading this seeking tree removal in Norfolk, VA, or nearby areas like Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, you almost certainly have several trees on your property. As you might guess from the state’s picturesque shady valleys and stunning forest views, Virginia’s residents are especially blessed with biodiversity. Trees provide much-needed benefits for the ecosystem, make for beautiful scenery, grant us shade and privacy, and increase property value. But what do you do when a tree becomes more of a hindrance than a help? That’s when you need tree removal services. These are some common signs it’s time for tree removal.

Start from the Ground

Begin assessing from the ground up to determine if it’s time to remove your tree. That means starting with the roots. Then check the trunk, followed by the crown. Finally, check for any problems that the tree is creating or might create in the future.


From a tree’s roots alone, sometimes you’ll be able to spot telltale signs it’s time for tree removal. Roots are what connect the base of the tree to the ground. The connection between the roots and the earth is how a tree gets its nutrients from the soil. If your tree’s roots have been changing rapidly, it is a signal that the tree might be getting sick or dying. Unusually brittle roots, roots erupting in strange places, and roots that appear rotted are all signs of problems.

Make sure you watch out for small shoots emerging at the base of your tree. These might be “suckers,” a type of growth that happens when a tree has undergone injury. They siphon water and food from the tree, causing a cycle of poor health. Something else to look for at the bottom of the tree is mushrooms. There may be mushrooms growing because the tree is rotting or already dead since mushrooms are an indicator of decay.


A tree trunk is like a spine, holding its body up tall and proud. Tree trunks should grow evenly and appear relatively uniform over time. Large bulges in a tree’s trunk can come from swelling inside of the tree, especially if the bulges have increased in size since you began monitoring the tree’s health. Feel the bark of your tree — is it especially brittle? Some trees get more brittle in the winter as a natural part of their life cycle. However, year-round dry, crumbly, or rotted bark can indicate that a tree is in poor shape.

Another thing to keep an eye on is the angle between the trunk and the ground. Not all trees will be perfectly vertical, but an increasing tilt to one side or the other can spell trouble, particularly when the leaning starts suddenly or appears to be progressing. If your tree resembles a certain tower in Pisa, it’s one of the most obvious signs it’s time for tree removal.


The “crown” of a tree refers to the top, including the outermost branches and leaf canopy. Many trees lose branches and leaves in the fall and winter. However, if your tree sheds dead branches year-round or frequently drops many of its large branches, it could be in jeopardy. Something else common among dying trees is a lack of crown growth. If your tree previously produced leaves, needles, or other plant growth and it no longer does, nutrients from the roots are not reaching the crown. A tree that has not grown anything for multiple years is likely dead or sick, and a lack of growth is often an easy way to determine when it’s time to remove your tree.

External Factors

Other reasons it might be time to remove your tree can come from situations that have caused problems for your tree — or situations where the tree is causing problems for you.

Property Problems

Leaning trees pose a risk because the more they lean, the more unbalanced they become. Sometimes a tree’s branches can encroach on the roof of your property or grow into your power lines. Tree roots can disrupt construction and make installing and maintaining underground services like plumbing, electricity, and cable difficult. Planting trees might have seemed harmless twenty years before an area was developed, but if new development is happening in the area now, those same trees can become an obstacle.

Storm Damage

Trees that have experienced significant storm damage are often in need of removal because storms can decrease the health of trees or cause tree death. Not only is a weakened or dead tree at risk of being toppled by strong winds, causing harm to buildings, but when the next weather event happens, if no one takes care of your fallen tree, the debris and branches from the last storm can cause property damage all over again.

Contagious Conditions

Just like any living thing, trees can become infected with diseases, parasites, and pests. And much like humans, trees can spread infections to each other. Close clusters of trees can infect one another with root rot, canker diseases, oak wilt, and a long list of other problems.  Invasive or pest species of bugs and animals can take up residence in a tree, and once they outgrow the habitat provided by one tree, they will certainly move to the next one. If an infection or infestation threatens to harm other trees on your property, it may be time to remove the tree that poses the threat.

A Fresh Start

If a few of these warning signs seem like something you’ve seen on a tree on your property, give our certified arborists a call today to learn about our tree removal services. However, tree removal isn’t the only way our team can assist you. We also provide many services that improve the practical and cosmetic aspects of your property. Did a different tree removal service do a sloppy job and leave parts of a problem tree in your yard? Are you looking to install a new swimming pool and want to ensure there are no overhanging tree branches dropping leaves into your clean water?

The trees in your life should be a source of joy, not a source of worry. For more information about any of our offerings, including tree trimming and pruning in Virginia Beach, VA, contact us today for more information!

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I had three trees that needed to be cut back and got two estimates from other tree companies. I wanted to get one more estimate when a friend recommended Tarzan Tree Service. I am glad he did because they were professional, extremely thorough with the job and the safety of the workers and property. Plus their estimate for the job was more affordable than the other two companies. They showed up when they said they would, they finished the job in a timely manner, and did a full clean up. They have a wood chipper that they put the branches through so my wife could spread them around her garden this spring. My wife and me couldn't be happier.