An older tree that has withered away may not always need to be removed from your property, as these trees can die in their place without help from humans and may even provide a nesting spot for woodpeckers and other birds in the meantime. However, you never want to ignore the need for tree removal if you feel that you have a tree on your property that is in danger of falling, or if dead branches may present a danger as well.
Note a few factors that can help you to decide if you need tree removal:
1. If there are dead branches just on one side of the tree
Very often, dead branches on one side of a tree are a sign of root damage or trunk damage to that side alone, which in turn means that the tree is in danger of falling on that side. If you notice that there are large patches of bark missing on branches or large patches of leaves that are brown and withered on one side of the tree, try to note if the tree seems to lean in that direction.
You may need to have it removed but especially if it's leaning; you should have it taken down as quickly as possible in this case as this may indicate it's nearly ready to fall.
2. If there is a large growth of fungi at the base of or on the tree
Mushrooms often grow under trees near the base because the trunk holds moisture and provides shade, but if you see a large patch of fungi all around the base or growing from the tree itself, this can often mean that the tree is experiencing root rot. This excessive moisture and rotting of the roots makes the tree weak and in turn, it may be at risk for falling.
3. If the trunk is wounded
A wound to the trunk can mean areas of bark that have fallen off or large patches of discoloration as well as cracks or seams. These often signal internal rot and damage that is now affecting the outside of the tree and causing it to die off. If the wounded area is just part of the trunk and very minor, it may get fixed on its own. However, if it stretches the circumference of the trunk or covers a large portion of it, this can signal that the tree should be removed before it falls.