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It should go without saying, but trees have a huge impact on our lives. Whether it’s building a tree house as a child or planting a maple to increase property value as an adult, trees provide a seemingly endless list of benefits. And while many of us have spent summers swinging on hammocks hung from beautiful trees like venerable oaks, when was the last time you considered the health of the tree before you started relaxing? And while it seems like a large tree is stronger than steel, we need to make sure they’re taken care of and healthy so we can enjoy them long into the future. So, how can we determine when a tree is unsafe and losing its strength?

Ways to Assess a Tree

If you’re uncertain whether your tree needs a helping hand, you should closely inspect it for damage, weakness, and other hazards. Here are a few things you can check for before bringing an arborist to your property.

Look for a leaning trunk

Examine the tree from a distance for a leaning trunk, broken branches, or strange branch angles. All of these are signs your tree might not be safe to interact with.

Scan around the base

Look for warning signs from the base of the tree to the area about three feet up the trunk from ground level. Soil that is raised or cracked can indicate the process of uprooting has begun, making the tree unstable. Nearby fungus can point to trunk or root rot that also weakens and destabilizes the tree. Cavities or hollow areas near the trunk’s base can also indicate a loss of strength, as can bulges and splits in the trunk.

Examine the rest of the trunk

Now it’s time to examine the trunk in its entirety. Leaning trunks are an obvious indicator that the tree is unsafe, but so are areas of bark loss, which can indicate a fungal attack or dead wood. If you find a streak of missing bark that runs from the trunk’s top to bottom, it could mean that the tree has been weakened by a lightning strike. Check multi-trunked trees for splitting where the trunks connect and look for evidence of insect activity by examining the trunk for sawdust-like shavings or little balls or tubes.

Check the canopy

Finally, examine the tree’s crown for dead branches. Although older, larger trees will have some dead branches in the canopy, the amount and location of these will help tip you off to the tree’s strength. Dead branches lower down on the tree are usually a result of lack of sunlight and they will be naturally shed, but a number of dead or dying branches at the top of the canopy typically means the tree is dying.

Learn How Townsend Arborcare Can Help You Create a Safe Tree Environment

Humans just can’t stay away from trees. They’re beautiful and bring so much joy to our lives. If you want to be certain the trees in your yard are safe for everyone to enjoy—family and neighbors alike—you’ll want a certified arborist to examine your trees for health and strength. Especially if you found any of the warning signs listed above.

At Townsend Arborcare, our tree care professionals can assess your trees for proper structure, strength, and health. Where necessary, we can prune dead branches, stabilize trunks and root systems, and even remove trees that have become too ill and dangerous to be left standing.

Ensure your trees are safe. Contact a Townsend Arborcare consultant at 888-827-4802 and learn how a certified arborist can help preserve the health of your trees.


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