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What are some of the more common tree safety hazards you look for when evaluating a property for the first time?

The main concerns when considering tree safety hazards are hazardous trees and large deadwood. Trees or large limbs that might fall and damage your property, or even worse, hurt a person, are definitely serious. Tree safety hazards can also be a liability if your tree, or one of its limbs, damages someone else’s property or hurts another person.

Identifying a problem early and getting a certified arborist to inspect your property for a tree evaluation, can reduce your chances of having a serious liability. Even when you’re in doubt about a potential problem with your tree, it’s always best to be proactive when it comes to something this important.

Here are some of the most common tree safety hazards that we encounter when performing a tree care evaluation on a property.

  1. Dead trees – This hazard is, of course, one of the most dangerous that we see. A dead tree will show some or all signs like broken or brittle bark, mushroom or fungal growths, dropping of leaves, and thinning foliage.


  1. Broken, Damaged, or Hanging Limbs – Probably the most visible (and most obvious) of the tree hazards, a broken or hanging limb is a telltale sign that your tree is, in fact, a danger.


  1. Dead Limbs – It’s not just hanging or damaged limbs that pose a fall risk. Limbs in your tree may be dead without you even realizing it and these can eventually fall as well. The scary truth is that dead limbs can remain in a tree for years with the decay continuously spreading to live tissue, worsening and deepening the problem—and the danger—unbeknownst to you.


  1. Changes in the Bark – Included bark can develop where two or more stems grow closer together. When this occurs, it can create a “V” formation and be more likely to split or break (as opposed to a more normal “U” formation). Proper tree pruning can prevent this from happening. Improper pruning can also lead to decay, damaged, or weakened areas of the tree.


  1. Leaning trees – If you have a tree that is leaning, a certified arborist will take into account a number of factors, the most important of which, is how long has it been leaning. Has it been this way for a long time or is this a new change? And, does it continue to change? A certified Arborist will also take into account what the tree is leaning toward. Is it right over your house? Your car? An area where the kids play? These target factors will also come into play in making a decision on the seriousness of your tree issue and the best course of action. Some trees do have a natural lean to them and it may not be a concern. But it’s worth getting a tree care professional’s opinion.


  1. Root Damage – Tree roots are sometimes unknowingly damaged during construction activities. But problems may not actually manifest until years, even decades, later. That means damage to a tree in your yard could have been done before you even lived there. Roots are the most vital aspect of the tree and if they are damaged by construction equipment during a project, the entire tree could eventually die. Some signs of root damage include wilting, as the tree’s ability to take in moisture has been damaged. Thinning foliage, undersized leaves, dead branches, and limited growth are all signs that the tree’s roots may have been damaged. Of course, these issues can also be signs of other problems that only a professional might distinguish.