Warning Signs Of A Tree At Risk Of Falling

Posted on: 16 December 2019

Trees make beautiful additions to yards and neighborhoods, but they can also cause damage and injury if they fall over. Many problems with weak, damaged, or diseased trees can be corrected if they're caught in time, but not all signs of danger are obvious, so here are three warning signs to look out for. If you notice any of these signs, it's time to call for help.

Tree Is Leaning or Has Shifted Noticeably

A tree that's leaning to one side isn't necessarily an indicator of a problem by itself, but if your tree is leaning in a way it hasn't before, if the leaning came on suddenly, or if the leaning has gotten worse, then there may be a problem with the tree that needs immediate attention.

Leaning can happen for various reasons, from weakened root systems to pressure from high winds. In some cases, the tree may be able to continue growing without posing any risks. Whether this is the case or not may not be immediately discernible, however. If a tree is otherwise healthy, it may still need to be stabilized so its roots can regain a strong hold in the soil. A leaning tree can often be corrected, but if it's left alone, it may be at risk for falling instead.

In these cases, especially if the tree is near any buildings, streets, footpaths, or power lines, call a professional immediately so they can inspect the tree for you and give you their recommendations.

Branches or Trunk Are Hollow and Crumbling

If you've noticed that some of the branches on your tree are coming off easily and seem hollow inside, this is often a sign of disease. This again doesn't have to be a problem by itself, but it could be a sign of something more serious. If a tree is trimmed before a disease progresses too far, then you may only lose a few branches here and there. If the tree has been diseased for some time, however, the tree may already be dead and may be hollowed out inside the trunk. This can be hard to spot from the outside, but the risks can be serious nonetheless. A hollowed-out tree is greatly weakened and more likely to fall over once the trunk can no longer support its weight.

Because of how hard these problems can be to spot without getting up close, it's important to take a closer look at your trees every few months or so. Investigate the trunk and any branches you can reach and test how sturdy they are. If any are showing signs of disease, call a professional; if taken care of quickly enough, the tree can likely be saved.

Roots Look Damaged or Shallow

A healthy root system is vital to keeping a tree upright, and if they start to fail or weaken for any reason, your tree has a greater chance of falling over even if it doesn't appear to have moved.

One sign of weak roots is small stems poking up from the bottom of the tree or on its trunk. These are called "tree suckers" because they suck nutrients away from the rest of the tree. These generally start growing if another part of the tree is dying or diseased, and if they're low to the ground, this could mean that the roots are diseased or weakened.

Another sign is shallow-growing roots. Even if roots are healthy, if they have a difficult time getting into the soil, they won't do much good for keeping your tree upright.

Many diseases can be treated, and soil can also be modified if necessary, but the tree may have to be secured if there's a risk it will fall.

For more information, contact a local tree trimming service.