If you're a homeowner, you likely understand how important it is to properly care for any trees on your property. After all, having healthy trees can significantly increase the aesthetic appeal of your land and help to provide shade when needed.
That said, not accounting for potentially dangerous trees can lead to serious accidents or worse. Thankfully, there are usually signs that a tree may need maintenance or removal due to potential hazards–if you know what you should look out for!
The presence of trees in a garden can be a visually appealing addition. A grown, healthy one is an attractive addition to any property. A mature tree may give your yard a natural colour when in bloom. First and foremost, though, its massive branches provide it with a lovely place to spend a warm afternoon with loved ones.
Considering all this, it's easy to see why deciding to cut down such a tree on your property may be a trying and unpleasant experience. However, in reality, there are situations in which this is an absolute must. When will you know it's safe to cut down a tree in your yard?
How to Recognise a Hazardous Tree
A tree's fragility and susceptibility to disease increase with its age. This means that the tree could lose branches or even topple over if there is a strong wind. And it means you or your neighbours might get hurt, or their pricey stuff might get damaged.
In this blog post, we'll discuss why it's so essential to be aware of these possible dangers and give tips on how you can easily tell if something might be off with your trees.
Branches Falling Off for No Reason
For example, if the tree usually displays rich foliage in the spring or summer, you can tell something is wrong if you notice dead limbs. Brown, withered leaves or no leaves at all indicate a dead branch. They may even stop barking altogether. These branches have become old and brittle, making them more likely to break, especially in a storm.
Consider the tree's size, weight, and health when deciding what to do about any dead limbs you find. An arborist should check these trees for two reasons:
- The arborist will be able to evaluate the tree's stability and recommend any preventative measures that may be necessary.
- Cables or braces can give these trees some more support, but it's best to do it as quickly as possible.
A professional arborist should be called if the branch's potential fall could cause harm to people or property. An imminent tree fall can also be predicted by the presence of rot on a dead or damaged branch, suggesting that the disease has spread to other areas of the tree.
Too Several Deep Fractures In The Trunk
Trunk surface cracking is a typical seasonal occurrence in trees; however, it is usually harmless. Keep a watch out for deep splits, cracks, and voids in the trunk, as these might indicate a tree's overall health. Although these may not indicate anything in particular, they often indicate more significant problems. Root decay, insect infestation, and storm damage can weaken a tree's trunk to the point where it topples over.
Any scratch that appears to travel beyond the bark's surface has to be evaluated promptly by a professional. Not only may they indicate structural damage, but they could also serve as a breeding ground for germs. In the worst-case scenario, they could rot the tree from the inside out.
The Tree Seems To Be Ill Or Broken
If a tree has a sickly appearance, that's another warning indicator. Fortunately, it's usually easy to recognize without the help of an expert. Stunted or abnormal growth is the most obvious sign of a sick tree, but there are others. The health of the leaves, or the premature dropping of leaves, is another telltale sign.
Leaves that are thinning leaves that are drying out, leaf loss from the outside and unusual colouring or spots around leaves are all indicators of a more serious issue. Insect infestations, soil issues, and tree diseases are the most typical causes of these problems, though they are not the only ones. Only cut down a tree by consulting a specialist, as there is a chance it can be saved.
The Tree Has Begun to Lean or Has Already Started to Lean
You probably won't be shocked to find that not all leaning trees pose a threat to people. That's just how it is for some people because of their social status. If a straight tree suddenly begins to lean, significantly if the tilt worsens quickly, this is a very concerning indicator. When a tree suddenly moves, it's a red flag that something is wrong with its foundation. And that's a significant issue since trees can't survive without healthy roots.
It's only sometimes the case that leaning trees will topple over. Trees with strong roots can adapt in various ways to accommodate this development pattern.
However, leaning trees are among the deadliest in the forest. Usually, the only concern is not if a tree would fall that suddenly leans to one side or the other, but when. Always get such trees assessed immediately and keep pets and individuals away from the location until it is deemed safe by an arborist or even the tree is obliterated.
The Distance Between Your Tree And The Nearest Building
The proximity of a tree to a building is a common justification for its removal, even if the tree itself is in perfect health. Potentially dangerous electricity wires could now be dangling from its branches. A tree's roots could be growing into or causing damage to your home's infrastructure, such as utility lines or the foundation. Expanding your yard's usable area may be a priority for you.
The Mushroom Crop Starts Either On Or Beneath Your Tree
While mushrooms may not appear dangerous at first glance, an arborist will know better. Fungi produce mushrooms as their fruiting bodies, and when mushrooms grow, you may bet there is a web of hyphae, or fungal filaments, permeating the soil or the wood.
It has been found that certain types of mushrooms pose no real threat to the tree. While others are highly infectious, sending their filaments into a larger and larger area of the wood, they hungrily digest it and ultimately damage the tree.
The Hollow in Your Tree Is Very Large
Many things can cause a tree to become hollow, but the first step is usually a minor wound that gets infected and grows a fungus colony. A hole will form in the wood as the fungus consumes it. The tree can swiftly close off the infected area (a process called compartmentalisation), reducing the extent of the wound. But sometimes, the fungus triumphs and colonises the entire tree.
Similar Trees Have Recently Collapsed Nearby
A single tree's demise at the forest's edge is often followed by that of a second tree a few days or even months ago. For two reasons, it's unsettling to see trees that have survived the fall of a nearby neighbour.
- Invasive viruses, pests, or fungi could be hiding in the soil. These pose a serious threat to all nearby trees, but especially to others of the same kind.
- A forest's trees often work together to provide wind protection for one another, and young seedlings nurtured within a forest's protective canopy spend their formative years protected from the elements. When an exterior tree dies, the inside trees are left vulnerable and more likely to fall.
When a tree collapses on your property, it's best to have an arborist look at it because of its potential impact on neighbouring trees.
Tree Inspection Guidelines
Each year, you should thoroughly examine each tree on your property. It's possible year-round, whether the trees have leaves or not. However, it is ideal to evaluate trees after they have lost their leaves in the fall, gained their leaves in the spring, and after heavy storms. Regular inspections should be performed regularly to identify issues with your trees before they become hazardous or untreatable.
Carefully and methodically check the trees. Roots, trunk flare, main stem, bark, canopy, and individual branches should all be inspected. Take your time and look at the tree from every angle. Binoculars should be used to observe limbs that are not at ground level.
Is your tree still firmly rooted, or have its roots been severed to make room for a new pavement? If a tree's root system has been injured or wrongly chopped off, it is more prone to fall over in a storm or if the soil surrounding it becomes too saturated with water.
Do you notice any tree roots that have broken through the soil's top layer? Inadequate watering that does not penetrate deep enough into the soil may cause shallow surface roots, which will not correctly attach your tree.
Emission From The Trunk
Paying attention to the soil around the tree's base, where new roots will sprout, is essential to ensure your tree's continued health.
Examine the wood for sawdust-like clumps and holes that leak sap to determine if insects have caused any damage. It's also essential to never bury the trunk flare or cover it with mulch; it should always be free of obstructions.
The bark on your tree serves a similar purpose to human skin, shielding the sensitive inner layers from potential harm. However, there is always a chance that insects or disease viruses will be able to get past your tree's bark and into the wood beneath. Common causes of this include using lawnmowers and string trimmers, collisions with automobiles and construction equipment, lightning strikes, and nailing or tying objects to the tree's bark.
Examine the tree's bark for these signals of potential danger:
- flaking peel, missing bark, soft, depressed, bloated, or
- wet-looking bark is all signs of bark damage.
An already failing tree is sometimes indicated by a deep crack that penetrates deep into the tree's centre. Broken branches are more likely to have cankers or depressions in the bark produced by injury or illness.
And if you notice mushrooms sprouting from the bark, you know that deterioration has set in.
Branches and leaves form a tree's crown. Ideally, its shape and distribution would be uniform and organic. Possible structural issues may be indicated by the following:
- a crown that is unevenly growing from one side to the other
- a cluster of long, slender branches that hangs above a building or other public assembly area
- a very narrow "V" formed by two or more primary trunks or huge branches (a narrow crotch)
Combined, these factors increase the tree's susceptibility to damage during a storm. A trained arborist can safely and effectively prune away any dead or diseased branches and securely cable them to the tree's trunk to address the issues with long or flimsy limbs.
Symptoms of tree disease and current insect infestations include:
- leaves that are stunted or yellow
- branches stripped bare
- the decline of a branch or twig
- skeletonised leaves
- leaves that are torn or mangled
It is ideal for a tree to have a branch structure that is uniformly spaced throughout its trunk, with larger branches gradually tapering and separating into smaller ones. The entire length of the branches, from the nodes to the tips, should be densely covered in vibrant green leaves.
FAQs About Tree Services
A high-risk tree is one that has a structural defect that makes it likely that the tree or a significant part of it will fail and fall on someone or damage property. To look for high-risk conditions, inspect each tree systematically.
Trees that are too close to buildings may be fire hazards. Soffit vents provide easy access for flames to enter a house. Leaves and broken branches can clog gutters, potentially causing ice dams or water penetration into the building. Old, damaged or otherwise weak trees may fall and endanger lives and property.
Trees hanging over the roof or too close to a structure might need to be removed – or at least regularly pruned. In general, large trees should be at least 20 feet away from a house or building.
The healthiest tree is one that has at least ½ to ⅓ of its total height cloaked in leaves or needles and is symmetrically shaped like an umbrella, lollipop, or cone. Deciduous or broadleaf trees tend to grow into an umbrella shape, which is why they are preferred as backyard shade trees.
Tree roots can eventually grow through pipes as they move toward water underground, and this can cause expensive damage to your plumbing system. In addition, trees that are too close to houses may affect drainage, causing more water to pool near the house, and creating a higher risk of mould and rot.
Having healthy trees in your garden can significantly increase the aesthetic appeal of your land and provide shade when needed. Not accounting for potentially dangerous trees can lead to serious accidents or worse. There are usually signs that a tree may need maintenance or removal due to potential hazards–if you know what to look out for! Watch out for deep splits, cracks, and voids in the trunk. An imminent tree fall can also be predicted by the presence of rot on a dead or damaged branch.
Cables or braces can give trees some more support, but it's best to do it as quickly as possible. Only cut down a tree by consulting a specialist, as there is a chance it can be saved. Leaning trees are among the deadliest in the forest. Always get such trees assessed immediately and keep pets and individuals away from the location until it is deemed safe by an arborist. A tree's roots could be growing into or causing damage to your home's infrastructure, such as utility lines or the foundation.
A forest's trees often work together to provide wind protection for one another. When an exterior tree dies, the inside trees are left vulnerable and more likely to fall. Inadequate watering that does not penetrate deep enough into the soil may cause shallow surface roots, which will not correctly attach your tree. A trained arborist can safely and effectively prune away any dead or diseased branches and securely cable them to the tree's trunk. The entire length of the branches, from the nodes to the tips, should be densely covered in leaves.
- As a homeowner, you probably already know how crucial it is to maintain the health of any trees on your property.
- After all, flourishing trees add to the beauty of your property and might give welcome shade on hot days.
- The failure to take into account hazardous trees might result in serious injuries or death.
- Thankfully, if you know what to look for, there are usually indicators that a tree may need maintenance or removal due to potential threats.
- Trees can improve the aesthetic value of a landscape by providing shade and height.
- An established, thriving one is a visual boost to any yard.
- When in blossom, a mature tree can provide a touch of natural colour to your yard.
- Most importantly, though, its huge branches make it a great area to relax with loved ones on a sunny day.
- Taking all of this into consideration, it is simple to see why opting to take down such a tree on your property may be a challenging and unpleasant affair.
- To be sure, there are times when this is an absolute requirement.
- In this article, we will go over the importance of being alert to these threats, and provide some simple ways to spot any anomalies in your trees.
- With age comes increased fragility and disease vulnerability for a tree.
- This means that in the event of a high wind, the tree could lose branches or perhaps fall over.
- Furthermore, it raises the possibility of physical harm to you or your neighbours as well as property damage to their expensive possessions.
- Dead branches, for instance, are a red flag if the tree normally sports lush foliage in spring and summer.
- A dead branch is characterised by the presence of brown, withered leaves or the absence of any leaves at all.
- It's possible they'll cease barking entirely.
- The age and brittleness of these limbs makes them more vulnerable to breaking, especially in a storm.
- When considering what to do about a dead limb, think about the tree's size, weight, and overall condition.
- These trees will benefit from additional support in the form of cables or braces as soon as possible.
- If the branch's possible fall could cause injury to people or property, a professional arborist should be contacted.
- The appearance of rot on a dead or damaged branch indicates that the illness has spread to other parts of the tree and increases the likelihood of a fall.
- Surface cracking on tree trunks is common during the changing of the seasons, but normally does not do any harm unless it spreads further into the trunk.
- Deep splits, cracks, and gaps in the trunk could be an indication of the tree's overall health, so keep an eye out for these.
- These may not always point to anything specific, but they typically do.
- A tree might be brought down by storm damage, insect infestation, or root rot.
- An immediate medical assessment is required for any scratch that looks to go deeper than the bark's surface.
- They could be a sign of structural deterioration and a potential source of disease.
- In the worst instance, they could cause internal decay in the tree.
- It's possible that the tree is sick or damaged.
- The presence of illness in a tree is another red flag.
- Fortunately, most people can tell without consulting a specialist.
- The most obvious indicator of a sick tree is stunted or irregular development, but there are others.
- Also indicative is the state of the leaves, or the early falling of leaves.
- Indicators of a more significant problem include leaf thinning, leaf drying out, leaf loss from the exterior, and strange colouring or patches surrounding leaves.
- The most common reasons for these challenges include insect infestations, soil problems, and tree diseases.
- It's best to get an expert's opinion before cutting down a tree, as there's always a chance it could be salvaged.
- You probably won't be surprised to learn that not every slanting tree is dangerous.
- Inadequate root health is a serious problem since trees cannot exist without them.
- Even drooping trees don't always fall over.
- Trees with deep roots have many options for adjusting to this growth pattern.
- It's important to be cautious around leaning trees, as they are among the deadliest in the woods.
- When a tree suddenly topples to one side, the only question is not if it will collapse, but when.
- You should always get such trees evaluated immediately and keep dogs and people away from the area until it is pronounced safe by an arborist or the tree is removed.
- If a tree is located too close to a building, even if it is otherwise healthy, it may be cut down.
- Its limbs may now have live electrical cables hanging from them, which might be hazardous.
- The roots of a tree could be interfering with or destroying your home's pipes, piping, or foundation.
- You might be interested in increasing the usable space in your yard.
- At first sight, mushrooms might not seem threatening, but an arborist would know better.
- Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of fungi, and wherever mushrooms grow, you can wager that a network of hyphae, or fungal filaments, is infiltrating the soil or the wood.
- It has been determined that some species of mushroom are not harmful to trees.
- Other species are highly contagious, spreading their filaments over an ever-expanding region of the wood they are devouring and causing irreparable harm to the tree.
- A tree can become hollow for a variety of reasons, but the process often begins with a small wound that becomes infected and supports the growth of a fungus colony.
- As the fungus eats away at the wood, a void will develop.
- In a process known as compartmentalisation, the tree can quickly seal off the affected area, limiting the spread of infection.
- Sometimes, though, the fungus is successful and completely colonises the tree.
- All surrounding trees, but especially those of the same species, are in grave danger from them.
- Young seedlings that are cared for within the sheltering canopy of a forest are shielded from the elements during their formative years, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the forest's trees.
- When a tree on the outside of a building dies, it increases the risk of damage or collapse for the trees on the inside.
- An arborist should examine a fallen tree on your property due to concerns it may cause damage to other trees in the area.
- At least once a year, you need to give every tree in your yard a thorough checkup.
- It's feasible at any time of year, whether or not the trees are leafy.
- However, trees should ideally be evaluated after they have shed their leaves in the fall, after they have grown new leaves in the spring, and after severe weather has passed.
- If you want to catch problems with your trees before they become dangerous or untreatable, you should inspect them on a frequent basis.
- Check the trees carefully and with care.
- It's important to look at the tree's foundation, trunk flare, main stem, bark, canopy, and every branch.
- Don't rush, and make sure you examine the tree thoroughly from all sides.
- When inspecting a tree's branches that are high off the ground, binoculars are a must.
- A tree is more likely to topple over during a storm or if the soil around it becomes excessively saturated with water if its root system has been damaged or improperly cut off.
- If you don't water deeply enough, the tree might not be able to anchor itself properly since its roots are too close to the surface.
- You must take care of the soil around the tree's base, as this is where new roots will emerge, if you want your tree to thrive.
- It is possible to tell if insects have caused damage by looking for sawdust-like clusters and holes that leak sap.
- Lawnmowers and string trimmers, cars and construction equipment, lightning, and nails and ties are only a few of the common causes of this.
- Inspect the bark of the tree for symptoms of injury, such as peeling, missing bark, softness, depression, swelling, or a damp appearance.
- Sometimes a deep fracture that goes all the way through a tree is the first sign that it is about to fail.
- Cankers, or depressions in the bark, caused by damage or illness, are more common on broken branches.
- And if you see mushrooms growing out of the bark, you can assume that decay has already set in.
- A tree's crown is made up of its branches and its leaves.
- The perfect form and distribution would be uniform and organic.
- The following are signs that there may be structural problems:
- a cluster of long, thin branches that hangs above a building or other public assembly area; a crown that is growing asymmetrically from one side to the other
- created by two or more major trunks and/or massive branches meeting in a very narrow "V" (a narrow crotch)
- All of them make the tree more likely to fall during a storm.
- To solve the problems caused by long or frail branches, a professional arborist can safely and successfully remove any dead or diseased branches and then cable them to the tree's trunk.
- Signs of contemporary insect infestations and tree diseases include:
- leaf discoloration or shortening
- Leaves shrivelled into skeletons as a branch or twig died
- twisted or torn leaves
- An ideal tree has evenly spaced branches all along its trunk, with larger branches progressively tapering and dividing into smaller ones.
- It's important that the branches be completely covered in lush, green foliage, from the branch nodes all the way out to the tips.