It's Time To Go: Tips For Recognizing The Signs Of A Dangerous Tree

If you've ever survived a nasty storm, you know the damage that can be caused by a falling tree or limb. According to the National Storm Damage Center, falling trees and limbs that were damaged during a storm cost homeowners around $1 billion each year. The signs of a storm-damaged tree can be obvious, but what are the other signals your tree or a large limb might be ready to fall? Don't wait until it's too late and watch for these signs you might have a dangerous tree on your property:

Watch for Damaged Limbs

When inspecting the tree, one of the best places to start is with the branches. If you suspect the tree is damaged, use caution while inspecting the branches. Never stand under a damaged limb or attempt to climb one.

While checking the limbs and branches, look for the following:

  • Look at the point where the limb or branch attaches to the tree. In a healthy tree, there should be no major signs of damage and the limb should be attached with a strong, V-shaped connection.

  • Watch for limbs or branches that are breaking free of the tree, or have completely broken off and are resting amongst the other branches.

  • Check for branches that are crossing or one against one another. According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, when two or more branches rub against one another, it can lead to frail spots.

  • Compare the number of healthy branches to the number of damaged or missing branches. According to the National Storm Damage Center, if more than one-half of the limbs and branches are injured or have broken off, the tree might not generate enough leaves in future growing seasons to provide the necessary energy it requires to survive.

Signs of Disease

Depending on your area and the species of trees found on your property, your foliage could suffer from a number of common tree diseases.

In addition, your tree might be suffering from insect damage, which can be just as devastating.

Here are a few signs to watch for that might indicate your tree is suffering from damage caused by a disease or insect:

  • Root Rot – Dig a hole directly under your tree and carefully examine the roots. A healthy root system should be strong, rigid to the touch and be white or green in color. If the roots are mushy to the touch and are black or brown in color, this could be a sign your tree's roots are damaged or diseased.

  • Check the Bark – Inspect the tree trunk and branches for any signs of missing or severely-damaged bark. Large section of missing or damaged bark could indicate the presence of a disease, or that the tree was struck by lightening, which can often prove fatal.

  • Wounds – Inspect the tree and look for any areas that are discolored, sunken or appear blackish and diseased. These cavities or cankers can be a sign of a disease or insect infestation.

  • Insects – From the fall webworm and the box elder bug to the forest tent caterpillar, there are several varieties of insects that can severely damage, or even kill, trees. Watch for the presence of the insects and larvae, trails burrowed into the bark or wood and dead or decaying leaves.

If your tree is severely injured, ill or you suspect it could be dying, don't hesitate to contact a professional from a firm like Pete & Ron's Tree Service immediately. A tree that is suffering from only minor injury or signs of disease or insect infestation could actually be much more dangerous than you might realize and should be removed from your property immediately.