There’s nothing quite like the beauty of a tree. Towering over homes and yards, they provide shade, character, and sometimes even fresh fruit!
If you’re like most people, you probably take for granted the healthy trees that line your street and fill your yard. But did you know that a neglected or damaged tree poses a risk to your home and property?
Fortunately, with a little information, you can take steps to protect your loved ones and property and know when to call an arborist for tree removal.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to tell if dangerous trees pose a risk to your home and what you can do to mitigate that risk.
*You may also want to know how to identify dying and dead trees on your property.
How To Tell If A Tree Poses A Risk To Your Home
You can tell if a tree poses a risk to your home if you see dead tree limbs, hanging branches, multiple trunks, leaning trees, included bark, damaged roots, and stress fractures or cracks.
Let’s dive deeper into these signs.
Signs Of Hazard Trees
Here are some signs to look for that indicate a dangerous tree. We’ll also cover what you can do to assess its health and check for damages.
Dead Tree Limbs
Dead tree limbs are one of the most obvious hazard signs to look for when it comes to how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home.
Dead branches are not only unsightly, but they can also pose a serious safety hazard.
As a tree limb dies, it loses its rigidity and becomes more likely to break.
If you see a dead tree limb hanging over your home, it’s important to have it removed as soon as possible.
Dead limbs are much more likely to break during a storm, causing significant damage to your home or even injuring you or your family members.
Dead limbs can also spread decay to the healthy parts of a tree, further weakening the tree’s overall structure.
As such, it is important to inspect your trees regularly for dead branches and take action to remove them before they become a problem.
Hanging branches are another hazard sign to look for when it comes to how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home.
When a tree has a hanging branch, which is a partially broken branch, it means that the tree is unhealthy and is at risk of falling over.
If you have a dangerous tree in your yard that has hanging branches, you should have it inspected by a certified arborist. They will be able to tell you if the tree is healthy and if it poses a risk to your home.
If the tree is healthy, they will be able to trim the branches so that they are no longer hanging. If the tree is not healthy, they may recommend that the tree be removed.
Look for trees with multiple trunks. This is a hazard sign, as the tree is more likely to split apart during a storm.
A V-shaped tree trunk or U-shaped tree trunk can weaken a tree’s structure and make it more susceptible to wind damage.
While some arborists may recommend stabilizing the tree with cables or other support structures, many times, the best solution is to remove the tree.
One of the most obvious ways how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home is if it is leaning.
This can be caused by a variety of factors, including high winds, heavy rains, or even the tree roots being unable to support the weight of the tree.
If you notice that a tree on your property is leaning, it’s important to have an expert take a look at it as soon as possible.
They will be able to determine if the tree is stable and whether or not it needs to be removed.
In some cases, a leaning tree can be stabilized with the help of guy wires or other supports.
However, if the tree is in danger of falling, it will need to be removed before it causes any damage to your home.
Included bark is when two bifurcating limbs grow too closely together, causing the bark on each limb to fold into each other.
As the tree grows, it creates a junction that is prone to splitting, making it more vulnerable to disease or pest infestations. Bark inclusions are often found on trees with multiple trunks.
This is one way how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home, but included bark doesn’t necessarily mean the tree is unstable and will fall.
It does mean that it’s more likely to suffer from wind damage or insect infestation. Both of these can weaken the tree and make it more likely to topple.
If you spot included bark on a tree, have an arborist assess the situation to determine if the tree needs to be removed or monitored for further damage.
If you see that a tree’s roots are damaged, it’s a good indicator that the tree is unstable and could potentially fall over.
Roots that are damaged can also be an indication that the tree is diseased or infested with pests, both of which can make it more likely to fall over.
If you see any damage to a tree’s roots, it’s a good way how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home.
Stress Fractures Or Cracks
Another hazard sign that is key when it comes to how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home is stress fractures or cracks in a tree’s trunk or branches.
As the name suggests, these cracks are caused by some type of stress that the tree has been subjected to.
Sometimes stress fractures on a tree can be caused by a lightning strike.
Other times, it’s simply the weight of the tree, such as when a branch gets too much foliage and begins to crack under stress.
Stress fractures can be difficult for the untrained eye to discern, which is why it’s important to enlist the help of a certified arborist if you suspect your tree has this issue.
*Mature trees tend to pose more of a risk as they’ve been alive longer and have more growth.
How To Assess a Tree’s Health
There are 5 main areas you’ll want to focus on when assessing a tree’s health: the roots and tree trunk, the tree bark, the tree crown, the branches, and the leaves.
1. Roots And Trunk
To check the roots and trunk of the tree, look for cracks or cavities in the trunk as well as broken or exposed roots.
You’ll also want to check for root rot, which can be identified by mushy or discolored roots. If you see any of these signs, it’s important to have the tree checked by a professional as soon as possible.
2. Tree Bark
To assess the health of the tree bark, look for cracks, peeling bark, patches of missing bark, or included bark. These are all ways how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home.
3. Tree Crown
A tree crown is composed of the tree’s branches and leaves.
When looking at the tree crown, check for yellowing leaves, bald spots, or broken branches.
You should also look at the overall shape and condition of the tree crown and note any abnormalities, such as unbalanced growth on one side of the crown.
These can all indicate that the tree is unhealthy and at risk of falling over. If you see any of these signs, it’s important to have the tree checked by a professional immediately.
4. Assessing Branches
You should also check the tree’s branches.
Do you see dead branches? How well-attached are the branches? How thick are the branches? How much foliage do they have? How evenly are the leaves distributed throughout the canopy?
All these factors can give you clues about the health of a tree.
If most of the leaves are at the tips of the branches, it could be a sign of how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home.
If the leaves are small and sparse, it could indicate that the tree is not getting enough sunlight.
5. Assessing Leaves
Last but not least, the condition of a tree’s leaves is another key factor in assessing a tree’s overall health. Browning around the edges or tips of leaves can be a sign of an unhealthy tree.
Similarly, if a tree’s leaves are turning color before they should, this may also be a sign that the tree is unhealthy.
Just keep in mind that this is a climate and season-dependent factor. Obviously, the leaves on most deciduous trees will regularly change color with the seasons.
However, if you see a tree’s leaves changing color when they shouldn’t, this may be a sign that the tree is unhealthy.
For example, if a tree in Massachusetts is changing color in early September (or earlier), that may indicate a problem with the tree.
What To Do If a Tree Poses a Risk To Your Home
Now you know how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home. But what can you do about these tree hazards? How can you keep your property from having a fallen tree on it?
If you have assessed the health of your tree and determined that it does pose a risk to your home, there are a few steps you can take to mitigate the risk of a tree falling.
Remove dead or hanging branches: First, you’ll want to clear away any dead wood or hanging limbs. Tree decay poses an immediate danger as it could lead to tree parts falling at any time and damaging your property.
Prune branches that are rubbing each other: Next, you’ll want to prune away any branches that are rubbing against each other. This will help reduce friction which could lead to branch breakage. This can happen with one tree or within a tree canopy.
Contact your local utility company: A utility company will be able to tell you if there are any trees near power lines that pose a risk of power outages. While most utility companies will trim trees near power lines as part of their maintenance, they may not be aware of trees on your property that could cause problems. By calling them and letting them know about potential risks, you can help them how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home.
Contact a professional arborist: Finally, you may need to have the entire tree removed if it is too damaged or unstable. This is a decision best made by a professional arborist or certified forester.
Arbor Works Can Help With Your Trees
Trees can add value and beauty to your home–but they can also pose a serious risk.
By keeping an eye out for hazard signs like dead tree limbs, hanging branches, and included bark, you can identify potential problems early on and take steps to mitigate possible tree damage to your property.
Now that you know how to tell if a tree poses a risk to your home, don’t wait for a storm to hit before taking action!
Book an appointment today, and a certified arborist from Arbor Works will assess the situation and determine whether the tree needs to be removed. By taking proactive measures, you can help keep your home safe from damage caused by trees.