There are many reasons to remove a tree in the yard, but trunk damage ranks near the top. Damage to branches can often be fixed with some pruning, but damage to a trunk can be difficult or even impossible to remedy.
1. Heart Rot
Heart rot is typically the result of a fungal infection, which causes the tree to begin to rot from the inside out. Often the symptoms don't appear until it is too late to save the tree, so removal is the best option. Trees that develop cracks or fissures that reveal a hollow or rotten core are usually suffering from heart rot. Mushrooms sprouting from the trunk or soil around the roots can also indicate rot.
2. Splits & Forks
A trunk can be split from a variety of factors, ranging from a lightning strike to uneven weight distribution in the crown. Forks occur naturally when a tree develops two or more trunks, but often a forked tree is weaker and more prone to splitting. A minor split can sometimes be remedied with careful pruning and splinting the trunk back together. More extreme splits can make a tree a dangerous fall risk, which necessitates removal.
3. Bark Girdles
A tree's bark does more than protect it, it also houses the tree's circulatory system in a layer just beneath the roughened bark surface. When the bark is stripped off, this layer is also usually removed. A tree can withstand minor bark damage, but nutrients and water can no longer flow through the system if the bark is torn off in a ring that encircles or nearly encircles the trunk. This kind of damage is called girdling, and girdled trees must be removed.
4. Borer Holes
Holes up and down the trunk can be caused by trunk-boring insects or they may be the result of woodpeckers that are feeding on an insect infestation within the trunk. Some insect pests can be treated if the problem is caught early enough, but a thorough assessment by a tree service will be necessary. Extensive damage and hard-to-treat pest infestations are usually handled by removing the tree.
5. Major Leaning
Leaning trunks can't be ignored, since they can fall and cause damage to your home or a major injury to someone standing below. Leans can be a result of storms, poor soil conditions, or dying roots. A tree can sometimes be staked and anchored, which will save it if the roots are healthy. Damage to the roots will mean removal is the better option.
Contact a professional tree removal service if you need help with a damaged tree.