How Do I Know My Tree Is Unsafe?
Any yard can benefit from the presence of trees.It adds a touch of elegance and charm to your property to have one that is both mature and healthy. When in season, a mature tree’s lush foliage adds natural, vibrant colour to your yard. Above all, its thick branches provide a lovely backdrop for lazy afternoons spent with friends and family.
Do you have any trees? If you do, you’ll want to learn how to assess whether your trees are a threat to you and your family’s safety. Before a serious problem arises, learning to recognise a dangerous tree, as well as the risks and defects to look for, can save your trees, your property, and your money.
A tree’s age affects its susceptibility to disease and its ability to grow brittle. This means that strong winds may cause branches to snap off or the entire tree to fall over. And that means there’s a chance you’ll be hurt or your property, or a neighbor’s, will be damaged.
Tree removal is also subject to strict local laws, so it is not a decision to be taken lightly. However, if any of the following symptoms appear on your trees, contact a tree removal company to guide you better. Read on to find out when it’s time to hire an arborist to remove a dangerous tree.
8 Signs Of A Dangerous Tree
1. Limbs that are dangling, broken, or damaged
A broken or hanging limb is a significant sign that your tree is a danger, and is probably the most visible (and obvious) of the tree hazards. However, limb damage isn’t always visible. To determine the extent of the damage, a professional tree inspector will look for splits and cracks.
You will have to use binoculars to get a closer look at some of the upper limbs. Because fall-risk limbs are not as easy to detect as some may believe, this is a prime example of why a tree inspection is so important, even if there are no hanging or broken limbs.
2. Deep Cracks In The Tree's Trunk
This is a warning sign that you should be on the lookout for. The trunk of a tree is what keeps the tree upright and supports the heavy branches. If the tree trunk has deep cracks, the tree is becoming weak and could fall apart and break at any time.
In rare cases where the tree has two trunks, look for cracks where the trunks connect. If there are cracks where the trunks meet, this could indicate that the tree is about to split and fall apart, which would be a dangerous situation.
A tree with a shaky trunk is unstable and dangerous. As a result, professional tree services and maintenance, such as Bellarine Tree Services, are required to assist you in addressing this concern.
3. Crown Shape
If a tree’s internal structure is damaged, an uneven or misshapen form can pose a hazard. A misshapen form can be caused by poor pruning or topping cuts, storm damage, or poor growing conditions. Poor pruning can result in a lot of water sprouts or weakly attached suckering branches.
A tree growing in too much shade is an example of poor growing conditions, as its branches grow weakly and unevenly up and out in search of sunlight. An uneven tree crown indicates that the tree’s weight is unevenly distributed, and the tree may be unable to support itself. This imbalance is exacerbated by large, overgrown branches or branches that grow only at their tips.
4. The Tree Has Suddenly Shifted Or Has Begun To Lean Over
It may come as a surprise to learn that not all trees that grow at an angle are dangerous. This is a natural occurrence for some people in their position. A bad sign is when a tree that was previously straight beginning to lean over, especially if the lean becomes more pronounced in a short period of time. When a tree suddenly shifts, it is a strong indication that its root systems are having issues.
Unfortunately, you can’t see the roots because they’re underground. There are, however, some red flags to be aware of. One is soil cracking around the roots, with the severity of the cracking indicating the severity of the problem. The appearance of dark, musty areas at the base of a tree trunk, especially if mushrooms are growing in these areas, is another sign of root problems. This fungal growth may indicate that the tree’s roots have rotted, and these weakened roots may not be able to keep the tree upright during strong storms or winds.
5. Lookout For Barks
The bark of your tree acts as a protective layer, keeping the interior of the tree safe. However, insect pests or disease pathogens can sometimes penetrate your tree’s bark and cause damage to the interior wood. This usually occurs when the tree’s bark is damaged by mowers or string trimmers, vehicles or construction equipment, lightning strikes, or when people nail or tie things to the tree (please don’t do this!).
When a deep crack runs through the tree’s interior, it usually means the tree is already failing. Branch breakage is increased by cankers (sunken areas in the bark caused by wounding or disease). You’ll know you’re seeing the decay in action if you see mushrooms growing on the bark.
During construction, tree roots are sometimes unintentionally damaged. However, problems may not become apparent for years, if not decades. That means a tree in your yard could have been damaged long before you moved in.
The tree’s roots are its most important feature, and if they are damaged by construction equipment during a project, the entire tree may perish. Wilting is one symptom of root damage, as the tree’s ability to absorb moisture has been compromised. The tree’s roots may have been damaged, as evidenced by thinning foliage, undersized leaves, dead branches, and limited growth. Of course, these issues could be signs of other issues that only a professional would be able to detect.
7. Fungus is growing on the tree
Fungi gain access to a tree’s wounded cavities. It begins reproducing using the fruiting bodies from the crack in the bark once it has arrived. Unfortunately, infected trees fall as soon as symptoms of a fungal infection appear. This means that as soon as you notice signs of fungus, you must have it removed.
Yellow and browning leaves, slower tree growth, and armillaria root rot are some of the symptoms. Before it topples over, you may notice some branches dying or wilting. However, it’s likely that the tree will need to be cut down before it gets to that point.
8. Other Trees in the Neighborhood Have Recently Fallen
Frequently, one tree near the forest’s edge will die, followed by another a few days or months later. Trees that survive after a neighbouring tree has fallen are dangerous for two reasons:
- In the soil of the area, there could be extensive fungal networks, pathogens, or pests. All of the other trees in the immediate area are in grave danger as a result of this (especially those of the same species).
- Trees often shield each other from the wind, and those who grew up within a clump of trees have never had to deal with strong winds. When one of the outer trees fails, however, the interior trees become exposed and are at risk of failing as well.
How to Avoid and Deal With Unsafe Trees
There are many things you can do to reduce the chances of a tree becoming a hazard and you or your property becoming targets. One method is to assess the risk that your trees pose to potential targets. There are four ways to reduce risk:
- Pruning:- Keep your trees healthy to reduce the risk of them becoming a hazard. Regular tree inspections, in addition to pruning, can help identify problems early and prevent dangerous situations from arising. Corrective pruning reduces a tree’s size or spread to keep it out of range of nearby targets by removing damaged or decayed branches.
- Being at a safe distance. If you have items near a tree, such as play equipment or a parked car, the easiest way to avoid damage is to move them out of the tree’s hazard range. For small spaces, moving a target in conjunction with corrective pruning or crown reduction can be a good solution.
- Make a habitat out of a hazardous tree. Keeping a tree as a “snag” or wildlife tree is encouraged if it is possible. The tree can be left standing after pruning it to a size that reduces its hazard range and provides sheltering habitat for birds and wildlife.
- Taking down the tree. By properly cabling and bracing a high-risk tree, the lifespan of the tree can be extended by stabilising its branches or trunk. However, cabling and bracing do not solve a tree’s structural issues, and not all trees are candidates. When there are no other options but to cut down a tree. You can replace it with a new tree that is healthy and well-pruned from the start.
Every tree has a lifespan. Urban trees face adverse environmental conditions and pruning damage that forest trees do not, and their lifespan may be shortened as a result. Any of the warning signs listed here could indicate a serious problem with your trees. You must act responsibly and have your trees evaluated by a professional if you notice signs of disease or decay or conditions that indicate damage is likely.
While we admire trees and strive to keep them healthy and vigorous for as long as possible, no tree is so valuable that it puts you, your family, or your property in danger.