Spotting Tree Hazards
Trees are important in our environment and provide many benefits. However, trees can also be dangerous when branches fall or entire trees collapse. Every tree potentially could fall, but luckily the numbers are few. However, as the home owner it is your duty to make sure your trees are safe. Here’s a tree hazard list of questions to ask yourself to determine if your tree(s) are safe.
- Are there cavities in the tree or is there rotten wood along the trunk or in one or more of the major branches?
- Are there mushrooms at the base of the tree?
- Do a number of the main branches start from one point on the trunk?
- Do you see any cracks/splits in the tree trunk or where the branches attach?
- Do you see any detached branches hanging down in the tree?
- Do you see large dead branches in the tree?
- Does the tree’s trunk have a noticeable lean?
- Has the tree been topped or otherwise pruned rather heavily?
- Have the leaves developed an unusual color or size prematurely?
- Have the roots have been injured, broken off or damaged because of the soil level going down, pavement being installed, sidewalks being repaired, or trenches being dug?
- Have trees that are adjacent died?
- Have you had any branches fall from the tree?
It is important that you act on tree hazards and manage them quickly. A tree care professional can be very helpful. If you have a tree that could potentially cause a problem your tree care professionals may suggest any of the following.
Remove the target – You can’t move a power line or a home, but you can move cars, landscape features and other targets to ensure they are not hit by a falling tree.
Prune the tree – Have the defective branches of the tree removed. Pruning done incorrectly can weaken a tree, so it’s best to get the professionals to take care of it.
Cable and brace the tree – Providing physical support to weak branches can help to improve strength and stability.
Provide routine care – Mature trees need to have routine care that includes water, fertilizer, mulch, pruning, etc.
Remove the tree – If the hazard is serious then removing the tree might be the only viable option.
Tree care is important at all stages of your tree’s life. Make sure you stay on it.