Recognizing Tree Hazards

February 17 , 2005

The recent storms have caused major damage to both land and property. Many trees have also suffered damage. Can you recognize tree hazards that can cause major damage to your property? The following article is developed by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) to help you recognize a pending disaster.

Trees provide significant benefits to our homes and cities, but when trees fall and injure people or damage property they are liabilities. Taking care of tree hazards make your property safer and prolongs the life of the tree.

Trees are an important part of our world. They offer a wide range of benefits to the environment and provide tremendous beauty. However, trees may be dangerous. Trees or parts of trees may fall and cause injury to people or damage to property. We call trees in such situations hazardous, to signify the risk involved with their presence. While every tree has the potential to fall, only a small number actually hit something or someone.

It is an ownerís responsibility to provide for the safety of trees on his/her property. This article provides some tips for identifying the common defects associated with tree hazards. However, evaluating the seriousness of these defects is best done by a professional arborist.

Regular tree care will help identify hazardous trees and the risk they present. Once the hazard is recognized, steps may be taken to reduce the likelihood of the tree falling and injuring someone.

Hazardous Trees & Utility Lines
Trees that fall into utility lines have additional serious consequences. Not only can they injure people or property near the line, but hitting a line may cause power outages, surges, fires and other damage. Downed lines still conducting electricity are especially dangerous. A tree with a potential to fall into a utility line is a very serious situation.

Tree Hazard Check List:
Consider these questions:

  1. Are there large dead branches in the tree?
  2. Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?
  3. Does the tree have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?
  4. Are mushrooms present at the base of the tree?
  5. Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?
  6. Have any branches fallen from the tree?
  7. Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?
  8. Has the trunk developed a strong lean?
  9. Do many of the major branches arise from one point on the trunk?
  10. Have the roosts been broken off, injured or damaged by lowering the soil level, installing pavement, repairing sidewalks, or digging trenches?
  11. Has the site recently been changed by construction, raising the soil level or installing lawns?
  12. Have the leaves prematurely developed an unusual color or size?
  13. Have trees in adjacent wooded areas been removed?
  14. Has the tree been topped or otherwise heavily pruned?
Trees are assets to your home and community and deserve the best possible care. If you answered "yes" to any of the questions in the Tree Hazard Checklist, your tree should be examined by an Arborist.


Santa Ynez Valley Tree Care
P.O. Box 1147, Santa Ynez, California 93460

(805) 688-5580

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