How to Tell if a Tree is Dangerous: 7 Tree Hazards to Look For

Concerns that a tree might fall and damage your property, or even worse, hurt a person, are definitely serious. Tree hazards are also a liability. If your tree, or one of its limbs, damages someone else’s property or hurts another person that could easily result in a costly lawsuit.

Whether you’re worried, or you just want to be sure, the last thing you want to do is neglect it and assume everything is okay. You want to follow through on having your tree inspected and determined if it is really dangerous or if some of the issues you’re noticing aren’t true causes for concern.

Spotting a problem early, and getting a professional on your property for a tree inspection, can reduce your chances of having a serious issue. Even when you’re in doubt about a potential problem with your tree, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to something this important.

Here are 7 tree hazards to watch for in the trees on your property.

  1. Hanging, Broken, or Damaged 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. However, limb damage isn’t always so obvious. A professional tree removal firm will look for splits and cracks to determine how severe the damage is.

  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.

  1. Changes in the Bark

Included bark, or “ingrown bark tissues,” 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 that a professional would look for).

  1. A Tree that Leans

If you have a tree that is leaning, a professional will take into account a number of factors, the most of 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? Is it leaning more today than it was last week?

  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.

  1. Exposed, Weakened Trees

Clearing trees during the construction phase can also cause problems for the remaining trees on the property. For instance, if the lot is wooded, and parts of those woods were cleared, the remaining trees (that may have once been situated in the middle of the woods) are now right on the edge of the construction line. Those trees previously had a windbreak when the other trees were there. Now that they are exposed, they are more susceptible to wind damage.

  1. Poor Structure

In a forest, trees compete for the sunlight and grow very tall without quite so many branches. However, outside of its natural habitat, a tree in your backyard typically develops a wide crown with a lot of large lower branches and limbs. Unfortunately, an overburdened canopy and a significant amount of large limbs can structurally weaken the tree over time.


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