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Recognizing A Hazardous Tree

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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 Checklist

  • Are there large dead branches in the tree?
  • Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?
  • Does the tree have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?
  • Are mushrooms present at the base of the tree?
  • Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?
  • Have any branches fallen from the tree?
  • Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?
  • Has the trunk developed a strong lean?
  • Do many of the major branches arise from one point on the trunk?
  • Have the roots been broken off, injured, or damaged by lowering the soil level, installing pavement, repairing sidewalks, or digging trenches?
  • Has the site recently been changed by construction, raising the soil level, or installing lawns?
  • Have the leaves prematurely developed an unusual color or size?
  • Have trees in adjacent wooded areas been removed?
  • Has the tree been topped or otherwise heavily pruned?

How To Deal With A Hazardous Tree

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 a home or a nearby power line cannot be moved, it is possible to move picnic tables, cars, landscape features, or other possible targets to prevent them from being hit by a falling tree.
  • Prune the tree. Remove the defective branches of the tree. Because inappropriate pruning may weaken a tree, pruning work is best done by an ISA Certified Arborist.
  • 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.

Recognizing and reducing tree hazards not only increases the safety of your property and that of your neighbors but also improve the tree’s health and may increase its longevity!

* Information above was gathered through www.treesaregood.com

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