What is a hazardous tree? It’s basically a tree ready to fall over anytime without prior notice, like a ticking bomb. The cause behind it varies, starting from tree diseases to after-storm damage. However, one thing is certain. No one wants to be standing in the near vicinity when it does fall over. OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, reports that there are over 100 fatalities caused by tree falls every year on average in the United States.
Looking at that substantial number, the importance of regularly checking the tree condition on your property becomes very important. Here are some of the telltale signs your tree is about to fall over.
It is completely normal for most trees to be slightly askew as they don’t naturally grow straight. But when your tree is getting more and more angular as the days pass by, there is a reason for caution. If you can’t tell if your tree’s angle is more severe today than tomorrow, check the soil condition. Typically, you can see that it is cracked or fissured on one side. You may also notice how the root system is more pronounced at that side.
Split or Multiple Trunks
Some tree species naturally have multiple trunks as they mature, such as elm trees. However, the union point should be U-shaped instead of V-shaped. Trunks with V-shaped unions are weaker and more prone to splitting, especially as they age or after being exposed to a storm.
Hollow Bark or Decays
Tree bark should not peel or have gaps. There are many things that cause a peeling or gaping bark, namely mechanical injury and sunburn. Whatever the cause, these conditions indicate weakness or even the beginning of a disease or infestation. If you see hollows or cavities on your trees, beware. If the decay occupies more than half of the tree’s circumference, the danger of it falling over is even greater.
Branches that are sick and healing poorly may look as if they are drooping. Experts refer to these as hangers. Hangers could also be caused by dead wood. You can tell the difference between a sick branch and a dead wood by the physical quality. If decay is present, then it is a dead wood. Both pose serious dangers to people. In the winter, hangers are heavier due to the moisture. In the spring when they dry out, they can shrink and dislodge and fall on top of anyone who is passing by. Hangers are also prone to be dislodged by moderate to strong wind.
Fine Debris on the Trunk
Observe your tree trunk for dust-like particles. Insects may cause damage to the trunk by chewing or making small holes in the wood. Termites eat through the branches and trunks of live trees. Over time, these damages can lead to weakness or even cause the entire tree to collapse.
Mushroom Growth on Roots
Not all fungi cause diseases. But if your tree is exhibiting slowed growth, leaves that are smaller than normal, or even dead branches, it’s likely that the mushroom is not the friendly kind. Fungi can digest tree bark at an alarmingly fast pace, and can quickly compromise its integrity. Some fungi can be identified by appearance, and some must be collected and sent to the laboratory for assessment.
An arborist is your best friend in identifying hazardous trees. They are experienced in dealing with trees and can differentiate between normal physical variation and a diseased tree. Early detection of hazardous trees is crucial to prevent injury and fatalities. Contact a trusted and experienced expert on tree service now!
19 Signs of Hazard Trees, Mdvaden.com
Is Your Tree Going to Fall Over?, HouseLogic.com