Hazardous Trees - Tree Trimming and Health Articles

Do You Have Any Hazardous Trees? hazardous trees

High winds from a hurricane whip across the yard causing a tree to uproot and crash into a nearby home. Most people think this is an unavoidable aspect of nature or simply an act of god. But not all tree failures are not random acts. Although healthy trees can fail under severe conditions, many trees fail because a structural defect has first weakened them, before the aggravating condition occurs.



The Problem With Hazardous Trees
Hazard trees have a high potential to uproot or break apart and fall on property, people or power lines. Although tree failure is most often caused by storms or high winds, other conditions such as a shallow root system or restricted root or crown growth may also be the source of the problem.

Look For These Hazardous Tree Symptoms
Any tree that could potentially strike an important target if it failed, should be inspected at least once every three years. Even trees that appear to be healthy can be hazardous. However, if your trees are experiencing any of these telltale symptoms, you should immediately contact an arborist for an in-depth tree hazard evaluation.

  • Dead, diseased branches
  • Weak crotches
  • Co-dominant stems (This is a tree that has two main trunks.)
  • Cracks or cavities
  • Rot or decay
  • Loose bark
  • Root decay that is visible near the trunk.
  • Mushrooms or other fungus on the ground around the tree.
  • Depressions or swelling in the stem of the tree
  • Lifting of soil adjacent to the tree
  • Nesting holes or bee hives


  • An Arborist’s Assessment

    An arborist will review the characteristics of the tree, noting the species, height, number of trunks, crown development and pruning history. Then they will examine the tree’s overall health as well as the site conditions that could affect the tree. Finally they will explore potential targets and give the tree an overall hazard rating.

    Treatment For A Hazardous Tree

    If the tree is deemed to be hazardous, there are a number of treatment options available. Often the defective part of the tree needs to be removed, but in other cases conventional pruning methods or even cabling and bracing may solve the problem. However, trees that are beyond saving or trees that simply have a high hazard rating, need be removed to protect the target area.

    If the tree can be saved, yet it is still deemed potentially hazardous, the arborist should periodically return to perform additional tree hazard evaluations. Since the tree’s health and site conditions can change over time, hazard evaluation should be completed every year.


    Jon Wilbur is an ISA Certified Arborist and co-owner of Pinellas Tree Service, in Clearwater.

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    Copyright, 2005, All Rights Reserved

    Jon Wilbur