Is Your Tree A Liability? Will It Cause Future Damage?

By: albertaarb - May 7, 2014

As a property owner, you should check periodically for dangerous trees. There is no substitute for having a professional arborist perform the inspection but it is essential to know when to call one or if the tree will require removal. As the owner of the property, you need to know what you can do to protect the trees that you have grown to love while protecting yourself and your home from a tree that is unhealthy and has become unstable. Here is a general outline of what to look for and how to detect a potentially dangerous tree.

Inspect the Ground

The root system is what holds up the tree and how it gets its nourishment. The most visible roots are the anchoring roots. These roots support the tree and include small absorbing roots that draw water and nutrients from the soil. When this set of roots begins to decay, the tree will develop problems although it may appear healthy.

Examine the soil and ground that surrounds the base of the tree. These things can provide you with some clues if there is a serious problem. Be sure to pull any grass, dead leaves, ivy and anything else that may be surrounding the base because these things can hide the fungus growth or other defects including hollows and cavities. Look carefully for any signs of a tree trying to fall over.

One way that you can tell that there is a problem with the root system is that there will be mushrooms near or on the tree trunk. Profuse fungus is a sign that the root rot is quite serious. If you see fungal growth around the base of a tree, it is time to call an arborist to have the tree tested and quite possibly removed.

Inspect the Trunk

If there are cavities or cracks in the trunk of the tree, the entire tree can split. Just because there is a cavity present, it may not mean it is necessary to remove the tree. It depends on factors including how extensive the cavity is, how the tree is growing and the overall health of the tree.

Examine the tree and look for any missing bark. This is an indication of a dead section or may mean that there is a fungus attack. If you see a long streak of missing bark, you can safely assume the tree has been struck by lightning.

If you spot sawdust or fine shavings of wood, this is indicative of an insect infestation. Ants do not generally kill the tree although many people believe otherwise since the wood they bore into is decayed wood.

Trees with Multiple Trunks

In the case of a tree with multiple trunks, it is important that the tree be examined where the trunks meet. A strong connection will appear as a U while a weaker connection will look more like a V. To prevent a tree with two or more trunks from wind damage, a synthetic fiber cable can be installed in the upper branches to provide the tree with support.

Inspect the Branches

The most obvious thing that makes a tree dangerous is falling branches. Dead branches will be void of any leaves during the summer. Pine trees with dead branches have pine needles that are all brown instead of green. To protect yourself and your home, have any weak, dead or broken branches removed. 

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