There is nothing better than sitting on a porch in a rocking chair, feeling the warm, summer breeze blowing your hair while watching a giant tree branch crash through your second floor window. Wait, what? That’s right. A tree crashed through your window, specifically, into the bathroom. No one was hurt, but wow. That tree had been there since your grandpa was little. What do you do now? Call the insurance company, call a tree inspector, and go check out the rest of the trees on your property.
Here are things to look out for when assessing if a tree in your yard may be dangerous:
1. Are there any limbs dangling, or broken? Loose, hanging limbs are a dangerous liability. Bodily injury and property damage can occur from a damaged limb.
2. Look for dead limbs. These don’t have to be broken. Limbs can decay for years without being noticed.
3.Look for V formations where two limbs have grown too close together. Ingrown bark tissue occurs here and splitting and breaking can occur.
4.Do you see discolored or peeling bark? A fungus that has attacked the tree can cause discolored bark. Some species of trees shed their bark as part of their growing season. A professional inspector will be able to discern if it is the species of tree, or a diseased tree.
5. Look for trees that lean. A professional will want to know how long the tree has been that way. Is it another one of your grandfather’s trees, or has it suddenly developed a Leaning Tower of Pisa stance.
6. Does the tree you’re looking at have root damage? Have you put in a swimming pool or room addition? Trees spread their roots looking for water, so you can dig through roots even when there is no tree nearby. Look for a tree that is losing leaves and drooping. These are signs of root damage, and the tree cannot obtain water for sustenance.
7. That beautiful shade tree with the huge canopy of branches and leaves may be the next tree to come down. While majestic and shady, if the top part of the tree is too large for the trunk to hold up, it’s just a matter of time before that top comes down on your roof.
8. What kind of bugs live on the tree? Gypsy moths, sawflies, tent caterpillars are all tree-killing pests that can cause your trees to weaken and die.
With the help of a landscaper or arborist, you can prevent the above issues from causing damage to your property, a neighbor’s property, or bodily harm. Trees can be cabled or braced, pruned, and removed if needed. By being pro active you can help prevent another broken limb through your bathroom window.