July 13, 2014

Having trees that are not a hazard to your property and the property of your neighbors can affect as much as 10% of the value of your real estate. Here are just a few ways that you can tell when a tree is a danger to your home.

Do your due diligence – check the branches and trunks of your trees.Old Walnut Tree (juglans Nigra)

When you check your trees, you’re looking for structural defects that could cause a tree branch or trunk to fall. Legally, if there is a person or property within falling distance of a tree, then you have liability for it if the tree injures a person or causes property damage.

Start from the top and use binoculars to examine the trees that are on your property. Make sure that you conduct a full examination down to the root zone. Areas that will require your special attention include the crown and areas around the trunk where damage can be seen without binoculars.

The Top and the Crown

Although there are many differences in tree species, what you want to check for is the brittle nature of leaves and branches that dead or nearly dead trees will give off.

Made a special note to remove dead branches as soon as you find them. These are among the most dangerous hazards that trees create; they can create a hazard even if the weather is calm. If you have branches that cross or rub against each other, these are the most likely to create hazards. You should prune them completely off of the tree as soon as you spot them.

Perhaps the most important aspects of your inspection of the crown should be the vigor of the tree. The amount of leaf cover, the condition of your leaves and the size of your leaves are all very important parts of determining the overall health of your tree. If you have more than one of the same type of tree in your property, compare the vigor of the two trees you so that you can determine the overall health of the trees on your property and take appropriate action.

Learn the History of Your Trees

If you have the ability to ask the previous owner of a property about the history of a tree, do so. Certain types of more brittle trees such as box elders and silver maple trees may break off and cause damage in storms or in times of high winds.Girl Hanging From A Tree

The Tree Trunk

Pay special attention to forked trunks. A trunk that is forked often means that a tree is weakened, especially if one side of the fork grossed out instead of up. Prune these forks so that you do not have a huge problem later on as the tree grows.

Look for signs of decay around the trunk as well. Major signs of decay can include cavities, conks and disfiguration. However, there may be no outward signs of decay. You may have to have a professional arborist take a look at your trees in order to determine internal decay that may have been covered by outside wood.