Taking Care of Tree Hazards
Makes Your Property Safer and
Prolongs the Life of the Tree

April 15 , 2004

Tree Hazard Checklist:

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 roots 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?

Examples of defects present in urban trees...

  1. Regrowth from topping, line clearance or other pruning
  2. Electrical line adjacent to tree
  3. Broken or partially attached branch
  4. Open cavity in trunk or branch
  5. Dead or dying branches
  6. Branches arise at one point on the trunk
  7. Decay and rot present in old wounds
  8. Recent change in grade or soil levels, or other construction

Examples of defects present in rural trees...

  1. Recent site construction, grading and tree removal; clearing of forests for development
  2. Previous tree failures in the local area
  3. Tree leaning near target
  4. Forked trunk; branches and stems equal in size
  5. Wet areas with shallow soil

Managing Tree Hazards:
An arborist can help you manage the trees on your property and can provide treatments that may help make your tree safer, reducing the risk associated with hazardous trees. An arborist familiar with hazard tree evaluation may suggest one or more of the following:
Remove the Target -- While we can't move a home or a nearby power line, we can sometimes move picnic tables, cars, landscape features, etc. to prevent them from being hit by a falling tree.
Prune the Tree -- Remove the defective branches of the tree. Since inappropriate pruning may also weaken a tree, it is best done by an ISA trained professional.
Cable and Brace the Tree -- Provide physical support for weak branches and stems to increase their strength and stability.
Provide Routine Care -- Mature trees need routine care in the form of water, fertilizer (in some cases), mulch, and pruning as dictated by the season and their structure.
Remove the Tree -- Some hazardous trees are best removed. If possible, plant a new tree in an appropriate place as a replacement.

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

(805) 688-5580

[Home] [About Us] [Choosing a Contractor] [Licensing] [References] [Proper Pruning]
[Why Topping Hurts] [Mature Tree Care] [Newspaper Articles] [Magazine Articles]