6 Signs That Your Tree May Require Removal


Despite all the benefits they provide, shade trees represent a serious hazard when they topple or fail. Fortunately, trees often exhibit signs that foretell their imminent failure, allowing you to remove them proactively. While you should always solicit the help of a trained arborist, who can inspect your trees and determine the likelihood that they will fail, you should familiarize yourself with some of the most common danger signs.  

Co-Dominant Stems

Arborists use the terms co-dominant stems or co-dominant leaders to refer to trees with dual trunks. Such trees often fail at the junction of the two stems, as one side or the other will fail and come crashing to the ground. This occurs because narrow branch junctions are not as strong as junctions with wide angles of attachment.  

Large Cracks

Cracks are often detrimental to the health of the tree and predispose it to failure. Cracks can occur in the vertical or horizontal plane, and they may be relatively minor, only penetrating an inch or two, or they can involve the entire thickness of a branch or trunk.

Large Hollows of Cavities

While small hollows or cavities are unlikely to cause problems, large hollows often lead to failure. Little can be done to repair a hollow, so it is important to have an arborist evaluate the tree to determine if it requires removal or not. Usually, arborists are concerned with the percentage of the trunk circumference affected by the hollow.

Sudden or Extreme Lean

Few trees grow at a perfect right angle to the ground; most grow at a slight angle. In most cases, this is no cause for concern. However, trees that exhibit a significant lean (approximately 40 degrees or more) should be examined by an arborist. Additionally, trees that develop a lean suddenly are very dangerous, particularly if the soil near the base appears to be mounding or rising.

Crown Dieback

Trees exhibit crown dieback – the gradual, premature shedding of leaves – in response to a variety of diseases and pests. While some causes of crown dieback are unlikely to kill the tree or lead to its failure, others may lead to the tree's demise. An arborist can tell you the likely cause of the condition, and suggest the best approach to solving the problem.

Dead Trees

Dead trees usually represent a safety hazard and warrant removal. Dead trees are almost universally afflicted with decay, which weakens the wood and often leads to the tree's collapse. Decay spreads through the tree over time, which makes it harder for the arborist to climb safely. Because the alternative – cranes and other heavy equipment – are costly, it is wise to address dead trees as soon as possible. 


30 July 2015

reducing the threat of standing trees around your home

I love and appreciate all of the trees around my home, but I do worry about what will happen during a strong storm. Will I get rudely awakened by by a tree crashing through the roof into my bedroom? Will a tree fall and take down the power lines that my family relies on each day to live our comfortable life? This blog will show you what you need to know before you go cutting down all of the trees on your property to maintain a safe living space and advice for picking and choosing the trees that will remain.