If you have a tree in your yard that ends up falling on a wall, your home, or worse – the neighbor’s property, you could end up paying thousands to repair the damage. That’s a nightmare scenario for any homeowner. But how can you tell if a tree is going to fall over? What are the warning signs that it’s in trouble? Don’t wait until it’s too late and the tree falls. Use this brief guide to assess the tree and decide what to do to remove the risk from your property.
How Can You Tell if a Tree is Going to Fall Over?
Dead branches are a sign that your tree potentially has root rot. The roots provide nutrition to the limbs and leaves; when they start to die, it’s a sign of something wrong with the roots. The tree will shed branches to compensate for the lack of nutrition, affecting the root system, and therefore creating a fall risk.
Strong winds might rip branches from the tree, causing injury or property damage. There’s no way to tell when a branch might fall; it could happen in a storm or on a sunny, calm day.
Hollow or Soft Spots
The tree might develop a cavity in the trunk, weakening its structure. Typically, cavities form due to incorrect pruning technique that leads to fungal infection. The cavity will grow over time, creating a weak spot in the tree trunk that increases the danger of falling.
Finding soft spots on the trunk is a sign of a cavity. Not all cavities create a fall risk. Some might not be substantial enough to compromise the structural integrity. You’ll need to call a local arborist to assess the problem.
If you notice roots protruding above the soil level, they might have a fungal infection that leads to the development of root rot. This can affect the entire root zone around the base of a tree. We discussed the damage root rot can do to the tree’s structural integrity, creating a fall or branch drop risk for your property.
If the roots are above ground, they are exposed to pathogens like fungi that can rot them. It’s challenging to determine the health of the roots without hiring an arborist to assess the situation. If the roots are above the ground, they weaken the trees’ grip on the earth. A strong wind gust might present a fall risk.
Cracks or Missing Bark on the Trunk
A canker is a spot on the tree where bark is missing or cracked. Cankers usually appear on the tree when it’s dying. You’ll need the services of a professional arborist to assess the problem and recommend recovery or removal.
Deep cracks in the trunk reduce the tree’s structural integrity, presenting a fall risk similar to soft spots on the trunk. If the wood around the canker or crack looks fine, you’ll still require a professional assessment; don’t leave it to chance.
If your tree is leaning at an angle over 15 degrees, it’s a sign of issues with the tree roots. Or it’s undergone wind damage that pushed the tree out of position, presenting a fall risk. In this case, the tree, regardless of the cause of its leaning problem, the tree will require removal.
However, some trees grow at an angle naturally and might not present a fall risk. According to the experts, the direction of the lean matters most. Trees leaning to the east risk falling in strong western winds.
Fungi is the worst enemy of trees. The pathogen enters the tree through cavities or damaged areas in the branches or trunk. Mushrooms growing on a tree cause decay from the inside until it dies. The fungi spread fast, blossoming into fruits that spread their spores throughout the tree.
Trees fall soon after displaying signs of fungal infection. When you notice the fungi fruiting, you’ll need to arrange for professional tree removal services. Failing to take action means the pathogen could spread to other trees in the yard.
Carpenter Ant Infestations
Carpenter ants love nesting in cavities in trees. They multiply fast and chew tunnels through the bark and trunk, colonizing the tree and reducing its structural integrity.
Therefore, this presents a fall risk. You’ll need professional assistance to assess the extent of the infestation. They can make a call on whether or not to remove the tree.
Call a Professional Arborist to Inspect Your Trees
As you can see, there are many reasons why a tree might fall over. Some are obvious, while others are subtle or impossible to assess with a layperson’s knowledge of tree health. You don’t want to make the mistake of removing a healthy tree or a tree that could recover from its current condition.
So, call a certified arborist in your area to help you assess the health of your trees. It’s a good idea to complete this task seasonally, preferably in the late autumn. Take action now if you suspect a tree of being a fall risk. Don’t wait to deal with the damage or injury caused by a falling tree in your yard.
Tree Services of Omaha
Tree Services of Omaha, Nebraska is a full-service tree care provider that offers a wide range of arborist services including but not limited to: Tree Removal Services, Tree Trimming, Tree Pruning, Tree and Shrub Shaping, Stump Removal, Stump Grinding, Arborist Consultations, Systemic Tree Injections.
Contact us today for a free estimate!