To Be or Not To Be?

That is the question. Right trees in the right place provide many environmental, health, and social benefits. But wrong trees in the wrong place can do more harm than good. Here's how to answer the age-old question, to be or not to be?

Removing a dead pine tree - A Plus Tree in action.

THE 4 D's

We love trees! We don’t like removing them, but when we do, it’s for good reasons. When considering tree removal, here are some of the things we look at. You can perform your own tree assessment by using this simple rule - the 4 D's!

1. Dead

Ok, this one's easy. If the tree is dead, out it goes. Dead trees have dry, brittle wood, increasing risk of failure and flammability. Remove it, what are you waiting for?

2. Diseased

Some tree diseases, like fire blight and anthracnose, can be treated or prevented if we take action early. Others, such as powdery mildew, are mostly cosmetic. But there are some root and stem diseases that severely compromise the tree's integrity and could result in failure. If it's too late to save the tree, remove it before it comes crashing down!

3. Dangerous

We've just discussed how dead and extremely diseased trees are dangerous. Other potential dangers to look out for are weak branches, deep cracks, severe leaning, disturbed soil, and wood-decay mushrooms. All of these can compromise tree stability, putting people and property at risk.

4. Distance

Sometimes, a tree is planted too close to buildings and other infrastructure. It's growing into walls, foundations, pavement, and utility lines. If the tree canopy and roots cannot be safely pruned and maintained at a proper distance, remove the tree and plant a suitable replacement elsewhere for sustainable, long-term management.


Watch out for these tree hazards!

Too Much of a Good Thing


Trees are great, but we mustn't get greedy and plant too many in the same spot. Trees grow larger and need adequate space to remain healthy. If they're too close to buildings and each other, have an Arborist help you decide which ones to selectively remove.


Monoculture is large-scale planting of just one species. Why should you care? Well, ever heard of the Irish Potato Famine? This was initiated by growing almost only one type of potato as the staple food source. When the potato blight came and wiped out the crops, people faced mass starvation. Similarly, a monoculture of the same tree species and age risks mass die off and removals. The rule of thumb is to have no more than 10% of the tree population from the same species.


Prevent monoculture from taking over your property!

Don't Forget the Law


Some cities have tree protection ordinances, which determine if a tree can be removed, what tree removal permit fees are, and if replacement trees are required. This is a common requirement for street trees, native trees, and larger, mature trees. Check with your city or ask A Plus to see if a permit is needed.

Replacement Trees

To protect our urban forests, we encourage you to plant replacement trees. It also may be required by the City. That way, our future will remain green with trees! Make sure to choose suitable species, plant in proper locations, and invest in young tree care to create strong, healthy trees. After all, who wants to go through the entire removal process again?