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A tree in my yard looks like it's dying. A friend said that I can simply cut off the side that is dying and see if the rest of it lives. However, some of the branches on the "living" side seem to be dying, but there are some portions that look like new growth. Almost all of the bark has come off of the dead side. The bark doesn't appear to be coming off anywhere else except where some of the branches have died on the living side.

I live in the United States, Omaha, Nebraska. The pictures below were taken 11/1/2017. It's fall here and the leaves are falling off the trees fast. I did my best to take a picture of the full tree, the bark and the leaves. Let me know if I can provide any other information.

What kind of tree is this and what should I do about it? Is it time to cut it down, or is there a chance of it still living if the dead part is removed?

full tree image

bark closeup image

leaf closeup image

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It looks like Acer platinoides, the Norway Maple. Your friend may well be right- if the branch on the left has died, but the bark is intact below it, then removing it is a good idea anyway from a safety point of view. However, because a large branch has died and lost its bark with no obvious cause, and you are a little uncertain about the health of the rest of the tree, you should consult an arborist to come and have a look. They can decide what's wrong with the tree, whether pruning part off will help, and most importantly, whether the tree is stable and safe.

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    @Scott This tree represents a potential hazard if the dead limbs fall on people or property. As Bamboo recommends get an assessment from an arborist. I think this tree has been severely stressed and the whole thing should come down but an on site assessment will be of more value – kevinsky Nov 2 '17 at 0:56
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My impression is that the tree is at least 60 years old. Perhaps it is even more than 100 years old. Maybe it is just too old.

You don't need to do anything. Keep in mind that a dead tree may even have a larger positive impact on surrounding wildlife than a living one. If it doesn't bother you, just leave it alone as it is.

Take a look at the following link, do your own research:

https://www.nwf.org/Garden-for-Wildlife/Cover/Trees-and-Snags

  • It definitely doesn't bother me, but it's close to houses and where children play. There's a city ordinance that states it has to come down. I'm just wondering whether the other side is worth saving or if I should just cut the whole thing down. – Scott Nov 2 '17 at 0:33

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