Are My Trees Dangerous?
by Phil Hackett
Trees are the largest living organisms on earth. Their impressive size and presence is something to admire, value and respect. Like any other large structures you own, trees require ongoing management of their health and structural integrity through their lifetime.
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Just as we use Builders to assess the structural integrity of a building, Engineers for bridges, Mechanics for cars and Doctors our bodies, so we employ Arborists to understand and evaluate the dynamic structure of trees.
As storm season rolls on through again, checking the health and structural integrity of your trees is a priority for the safety of your family and protection of your property, but also for the health and longevity of your beautiful trees. You may not be a trained arborist, but there are some simple observations that you can make regularly that will help alert you to possible dangers from your trees.
How to Inspect Your Trees
As with your house, pets, and family, your frequent observations and interactions with your trees make you the best person to pick up subtle changes over time or sudden effects of storms. Take a walk around your trees at the start of each season or after any storm event, and take note in the following four areas.
- Are there dead or broken branches?
- Are there unusual changes in leaf colour and density?
- Is the tree leaning?
- Is the soil waterlogged?
- Are the roots lifting/moving the ground?
- Has the soil been compacted by vehicles, etc.?
- Are there any cracks in the trunk or main branches that go deeper than the bark?
- Are there wounds and signs of decay?
- Have there been any changes to the area within the reach of the branches (within “the dripline)?
- e.g., Trenches, excavations, posts/fences, driveways, buildings, etc.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions or even if you just want the peace of mind that comes from a professional inspection, it would be well worth getting the opinion of a qualified arborist.
Phil Hackett is an experienced arborist (Dip Arboribulture) and owner of Eden Trees Arboriculture Services www.edentrees.com.au