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Recognizing and Examining Hazard Trees

Monday, February 09, 2015
Trees are the essential part of our environment that provide a healthy life for living creatures on earth. However, structurally defective trees can cause serious harm to people life and can damage buildings, vehicles, public places and residential properties.

Corrective actions in the form of proper tree planting, watering, tree pruning and mulching should be taken to prevent the structural damages to trees.

Often it happens those entirely harmless trees are removed because the owner believed that they were turning into hazardous trees. Tree risk management’s sole purpose is to eliminate all the risks related to a tree and make it pleasant for the environment rather than a hazard. Knowing the difference between a hazardous tree and a harmless tree is very important.

Following are few of the points to keep in mind while figuring out whether a tree is hazardous or not.

Hazard & Non Hazard Tree

A hazard tree is basically the one that has defects in its very structure and a portion of it or the tree as a whole has the chances of falling down on something or someone of value. It is not very difficult to determine a non-hazard tree. A tree needs to have something in its target distance to be hazardous, which means if there is something below it which may be harmed by its fall. In addition, a tree that has a structural defects, is a defective one and needs to be gotten rid of.

hazard trees 

In order to decide whether a tree needs to be removed or not, you will have to inspect it very systematically. You can start off by using binoculars and observing the top of the tree. After you have carefully examined its crown, move to the trunk and the towards the root zone.

Following are some notable things that you need to look out while examining the tree:

Examining the Crown

  1. The most basic thing to look for at the crown of the tree is any sign of dead branches. Dead branches are very much like accidents that are waiting to happen, and hence need to be removed instantaneously. Chances are, the next time there is even a slightly heavy wind, and the branch will fall off.
  2. While considering hazard trees, do make sure that some tree species are different than others, and while they may appear hazardous, in real they are quite harmless. One such example is of the willow tree.
  3. Some trees have a certain destructive or non-destructive history. The history of a tree tells a lot about its future as well. Do keep that in mind while examining it. Also, keep in mind if there had been any recent storm that might possibly have caused harm to your tree.
  4. If the tree shows sign of decline, it is better to have it removed urgently. Any tree that looks defected beyond repair and is in a place where it may cause harm by falling needs to be taken care of instantly.
  5. If the branches of the tree are rubbing or entwining together, they need to be taken care of. Prune these branches as soon as possible after discovery.
  6. You need to determine the tree’s vigor as wells, while it is rather subjective, many experts are of the opinion that the potential of the tree determines its decline. You can compare your own tree with the other trees of the size and kind and determine if it must to be removed or not.

Examining the Trunk and Roots

If the trunk of your tree is forked, it can be a sign of weakness, especially if the fork is growing rather outwards. These forks can also be infectious; hence will need instant removal. You will also have to look for any kind of sign of decay because they instantly give away the health of the tree. Also, determine if the tree is leaning to one side or not.

tree forks

Last but not the least; examine the tree roots. See if there is any sign of decay in the root area, because it is definitely fatal. Also, you must have to make sure that your tree’s roots are not severed.

Content Sources:

  1. http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/uf/sotuf/chapter_3/appendix_b/appendixb.htm
  2. http://www.arborday.org/backyardwoods/documents/chapter-04-tips.pdf
  3. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/forestry/publications/pdf_files/ctsphaz.pdf