How To Tell If Your Tree Is Structurally Safe

November 1, 2021 ,


Healthy trees are one of the most beautiful parts of a home or property’s landscape. A diligently cared-for tree that flourishes with vibrant leaves can be truly picturesque.

However, while we all enjoy the sight of our favorite trees, ones that are not structurally sound can be extremely dangerous. So today, let’s explore how to tell if your trees are dangerous or structurally safe.

Observe The Tree As It Is From A Distance

Sometimes, there are tell-tale signs of a structurally unsafe tree that can be assessed simply from basic observation. By taking a step back, and focusing your inspection on the tree as a whole, there are some deductions that you may be able to make right off the bat.

Is There Abnormal Leaning?

Trees can lean naturally, but out of the ordinary leaning is a cause for concern. Take a good look at your tree. Do you notice leaning more today than it did yesterday? Or even a few weeks or months ago? This is one of the quickest ways to determine if your tree is losing its structure and becoming unsafe.

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Are There Hanging/Dead Branches or Tree Limbs?

You may have to get a bit closer for this step, but if you notice any hanging, dead, or rotting branches or tree limbs within your tree, this is a significant sign that your tree is losing its structure.

Keep An Eye On The Leaves

Often, leaves can be a tell-tale sign of a tree that is in poor condition. If you notice any spots where leaves seem to be discolored or not matching the rest of the tree’s leaves in its respective season. You will also want to lookout for spots where leaves are not growing at all or growing poorly. These both can be tell-tale signs of an unhealthy tree.

Upon Closer Observation…

After you have taken a look at the tree as a whole, it’s time to get up close and personal.

Are Your Tree’s Roots Healthy?

Roots are a crucial part of a tree’s health and structure. There are few symptoms to look for if you believe that the visible or below-ground parts of your tree’s roots may be damaged.

  • Visible uprooting from exterior factors, such as extreme weather or poor landscape construction. This can also be determined by observing the soil around the base of the tree’s roots. If the dirt seems to be loose, the roots may be rising out of the ground.
  • Check for visible fungi (such as mushrooms) around or on the tree’s roots, as this may be a sign that your tree’s roots are rotting or beginning to rot.

Be Sure To Check The Trunk

The trunk is a major component of trees and can be representative of the tree’s overall health. Here, you’ll want to check:

  • If your tree’s trunk is damaged (thus your tree’s structural integrity is unsafe) is to look for any major cracks, wounds, or missing bark. These can mean that your tree is slowly breaking apart. And, once this damage weakens the tree’s structure enough, the breaking won’t be so slow anymore and the tree will fall.
  • If you catch pests on or in your tree, such as carpenter ants, this can be a major red flag as many pests can be detrimental to the tree’s health, as their activity and feeding habits can weaken the structure of the tree. If you can observe bits of fallen tree that look like saw dust or pitch tubes, these can be a major sign of a pest infestation.

Consult A Certified Arborist

If you have even the slightest feeling that your tree (or trees) may be damaged or structurally unsound in any way, you need to consult with a local tree care expert immediately.

And, while we have gone over many of the easily observable signs of tree damage, you will want to perform routine inspections from certified arborists to ensure the overall health and structural strength of your tree.