Assessing Tree Hazards

This fall, as you’re scuffing through the leaves, make sure to look up!  Heavy snow loads on branches make winter the most dangerous time of year for trees. Luckily, it’s also a great time to do tree work without damaging tender perennials and lawns. We’re happy to walk your property with you to evaluate potential hazards, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Visually inspect the whole tree, including roots, root flare, trunk, and branches, keeping an eye out for:

  • Large dead branches in the tree  Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. tree with included bark
  • Narrow branch unions, especially with included bark (right photo)
  • Cables or ties cutting into the bark

  • Limbs over structures and parking areas (a.k.a. “targets”)

  • Mushrooms or fungus growing at the base of the tree

  • Double leaders (Removing the less vigorous or less upright leader allows the remaining one to regain dominance, minimizing risk of breakage.)
  • Any tree leaning excessively to one side

Also, think about the tree’s life story:

  • Storms and lightening strikes may have damaged or killed parts of the tree.
  • Mechanical damage from lawn mowers, string trimmers, and vehicles disrupts the tree’s circulatory system, and leaves wounds which invite infection. Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Barbara
  • Careless construction or lawn installation may cut structural roots, compact soil, or leave trees too deeply buried (right), causing roots to smother and rot.  Damage may not become obvious for three or more years after construction.

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A tree professional should assess the tree if the following conditions are present:

  • More deadwood than normal for a tree of its age (>10% for mature trees)
  • Rot, holes, cracks, or fruiting bodies, including at roots and base of tree
  • Developing a lean
  • Evidence of disease on foliage, trunk or roots.
Contact us to develop a plan to reduce risk and protect the health of your trees.