Spotting Tree Risks
Learning how to identify the most common problems with trees is important so that you can correct issues as they arise, before they become serious.
Trees provide many benefits to homes and urban areas, but when a tree falls down and hurts people or damages property there are serious liabilities that can occur. Understanding tree risks and then addressing those risks keeps everyone safe and enjoying the trees.
Tree Risk Checklist
Here are some questions to think about getting answers to in your tree assessment.
- Are there any large, dead branches in the tree?
- Are there branches that are detached and hanging in the tree?
- Does the tree have cavities or is there rotten wood anywhere along the trunk or major branches?
- Are there splits/cracks in the trunk or where the branches attach?
- Are there mushrooms present at the base of the tree?
- Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?
- Have any branches fallen from the tree?
- Has the tree trunk developed a noticeable lean?
- Do many of the major branches arise from one point on the trunk?
- Have the leaves prematurely developed an unusual color or size?
- Have the roots been injured, damaged or broken off by digging trenches, installing pavement, lowering the soil level, or repairing sidewalks?
- Has the site lately been changed by construction, installing lawns or raising the soil level?
- Has the tree been topped or heavily pruned?
- Have trees in adjoining wooded areas been removed?
Defects to Watch for in Urban Trees
The following are signs that there may be defects in urban trees.
- Electrical lines are adjacent to the tree(2).
- Regrowth is occurring from pruning, line clearance or topping.
- Broken or partially attached branches are present.
- There are open cavities in the trunk or major branch.
- There is rot present in old tree wounds.
- There are dying or dead branches.