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Tree Hazards

On-Line Resources:
[ A Guide To Preventing Tree Abuse | Recognizing Tree Hazards ]
Recognizing Tree Hazards - (Prepared by HortScience, Inc. and Developed by the International Society of Arboriculture)

Tree provide signifigant benefits to our homes and cities, but when trees fall and injure people or damage property, they are liabilities. Taking care of tree hazards makes your property safer and prolongs the life of the tree.

Trees are an important part of our world. They offer a wide range of benefits to the environment and provide tremendous beauty

However, trees may be dangerous. Trees may fall and cause injury to people or damage to property. We call trees in such situations hazardous, to signify the risk involved with their presence. While every tree has the potential to fall, only a small number actually hit something or someone.

It is an owner's responsibility to provide for the safety of trees on his/her property. We have provided some tips for identifying common defects associated with tree hazards. However, evaluating the seriousness of these defects is best done by a professional arborist.

Regular tree care will help identify hazardous trees and the risk they present. Once the hazard is recognized, steps may be taken to reduce the liklihood of the tree falling and injuring someone.

Hazardous Trees & Utility Lines

Trees that fall into utility lines have additional serious consequences. Not only can they injure people or property near the line, but hitting a line may cause power outages, surges, fires, and damage.Downed lines still conducting electricity are especialy dangerous. A tree with a potential to fall into a utility line is a very serious situation.

Tree Hazard Checklist - Consider These Questions ...

    See Tree & Home Diagram
  • Are there large dead branches in the tree?
  • Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?
  • Does the tree have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?
  • Are mushrooms present at the base of the tree?
  • Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?
  • Have any branches fallen from the tree?
  • Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?
  • Has the trunk developed a strong lean?
  • Do many of the major branches arise from one point on the trunk?
  • Have the roots been broken off, injured or damaged by lowering the soil level, installing pavement, repairing sidewalks or digging trenches?
  • Has the site recently been changed by construction, raising the soil level, or installing lawns?
  • Have the leaves prematurely developed an unusual color or size?
  • Have trees in adjacent wooded areas been removed?
  • has the tree been topped or otherwise heavily pruned?

Mananging Tree Hazards

One of these treatments may help make your tree safer... Reducing the risk associated with hazardous trees can take many forms. An arborist familiar with hazard tree evaluation may suggest one or more of the following:

    Remove the target.

  • While we can't move our home or a nearby power line, we can sometimes move picnic tables, cars, landscape features, etc to prevent them from being hit by a fallen tree.

    Remove the tree.

  • Some hazardous trees are best removed. If possible, plant a new tree in an appropriate place as a replacement.

    Prune the tree.

  • Remove defective branches of the tree. Since inappropriate pruning may also weaken a tree, it is beast done by a Certified Arborist.

    Cable and brace the tree.

  • Provide physical support for weak branches and stems to increase their strength and stability.

    Provide routine care.

  • Mature trees need routine care in the form of water, fertilizer, mulch, and pruning as dictated by the season and their structure.

Recognizing and reducing tree hazards not only increases the safety of your property and that of your neighbors, but will also improve the tree's health and may increase its longevity!

Ensuring Quality Care For Your Tree

Trees are an asset to your home and community and deserve the best possible care ... If you answer "yes" to any of the questions in the Tree Hazards Checklist or see any of the defects contained here, your tree should be examined. Contact Lauderdale Tree Service at 954.583.1888 to discuss your situation.


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