Is Your Tree a Safety Hazard?
Know the Warning Signs / Robin Luce
Does your yard or commercial property have trees still showing stress from the severe weather of the last several months? Hurricane Sally and the storms that followed along with our March deep freeze left trees along the coast dangerously stressed.
Acute stress can occur suddenly and causes almost immediate harm to a tree. Flooding, drought, wind and untimely frost or freeze all produce acute stress. Chronic stress occurs over time and can be brought on by nutritional imbalance, improper soil pH, or other factors that take a longer time to develop. Chronic stress is compounded by disease and insects that love to prey on weakened trees.
Trees don’t take well to either form of stress, and can ultimately become unsafe for nearby homes, other structures, parked vehicles and passersby.
Here are a few things to look for when inspecting your trees for safety:
- Large, dead branches or branches that are just hanging around can pose a danger. Check for these threats in late fall or winter when foliage doesn’t obstruct your view.
- Cavities, rotten wood, or cracks and splits along the trunk or major branches may provide an entrance for wood-rotting organisms.
- Wires in contact with tree branches – especially downed or sagging lines after a storm.
- A pronounced lean or a tree with several large branches spanning from one point in the trunk may develop into a threat.
- Root damage from installing pavement, repairing sidewalks, or digging trenches can weaken a tree.
- Having soil at the base of the tree is a potential indicator of an unsound root system.
- Leaves that have prematurely developed an unusual size or color or if the tree has been heavily pruned. Dead leaves at the top of trees are usually the result of environmental or mechanical root stress. Curly or twisted leaves? You may have a viral or insect infestation on your hands.
If you find one or more of these warning signs, call a tree care expert or let us recommend someone for you. A real threat should be addressed quickly before that sickly tree becomes more than just unattractive.