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How can you tell which branch is dead?

Many signals of branch health are apparent in the fall and winter months. Branches lacking any bark are the most obviously dead. Branches with loose bark can be dead or perhaps dieing. Branches without the small twigs on the end can be dead, or the branch may be a live stub in which case it should probably be removed. Branches without buds on the ends of the twigs are dead. The least obvious sign of a dead branch is a branch with buds that are dead, dry or under developed. Dead buds on some tree varieties in the Midwest, such as locust, are even frustrating for experienced arborists to determine. To further complicate matters branches with leaves on in the winter (such as Norway Maples) can be newly dead.