Early bird Catches a Worm

Professional gardener pruning a tree
Professional gardener pruning a tree

So I woke up this morning, grabbed a couple mochas and hit the road to the job site from hell. I really was not looking forward to this crazy job involving a thirty five ton tree leaning on nothing but a brick chimney that was on its last legs, and a looney neighbor. My partner, Pete was the main guy who helped use set up the two A frames to help support the tree. He deserves most of the credit for this crazy, but amazing tree job. The A frames we put up were a huge help, but I was afraid to attempt anything else. I was mostly concerned about how much of a liability this tree was going to be to me because the house in jeopardy was a classic, custom vintage 1920s house with a good timber frame. It was, however, a good opportunity to learn how to control my stress, and also an opportunity to spread the word of how to prevent tree damage. For the rest of this I am going to provide nothing but useful tree information.

Preventing tree damage

Every year, falling trees cause horrible damage to people and property. In the most tragic of situations, trees all too often can cause death. This occurred last week when a great oak tree fell and crushed a woman. What made this tragedy so sad was that it could have easily been prevented. Sources claim the tree fell due to decay at the base of the tree. Apparently a large portion of the tree broke off years ago, leaving an exposed gap at the bottom of the trunk, which led to rot. When a storm blew through the area, the base gave out and the tree collapsed. Had the deterioration been identified earlier, and had the tree been removed under controlled circumstances, this tragedy could have been prevented. In order to prevent tree-related damage, it is very important that you identify any potential problems early, before they turn into deadly problems. As a homeowner, or as somebody who oversees property where trees are present, it is very important that you regularly assess the health and well being of those trees. As much as we all love and appreciate trees, they can be dangerous. Here I discuss some things to keep an eye out for.

Things to look out for

Are there any dead trees on your property? For dead trees, it is a matter of “when” they will fall, not “if.” Dead trees are very dangerous if located near a home, office complex, or area where people or animals are often present.

  • Are there any trees with dead branches? Dead branches will eventually fall, and when they do,they have the potential to crash through roofs, damage cars, crush sheds, or injure people.
  • Are there any branches hanging inthe trees? In the tree care industry, we have a special term for hanging branches, we call them “widow makers” . Hope you ou get the idea.
  • Are there trees with holes or rot at the base? If so, there is a very good chance that the base of the tree is weak, which means that it has the potential to fall and cause damage at any time.
  • Are mushrooms, cracks, splits, or any other indicators of a dead or dying tree present along the base of the trunk? If so, this is also a tree that should be removed.
  • Do you have a tree wherebranches regularly fall? Not only do the falling branches themselves pose a  liability and hazard, but this could be an indicator of a larger problem.
  • Do you have trees that lean strongly in one direction? Perhaps you are wondering if you need tree trimming work done, In conjunction with the lean, are there roots lifting out of the ground on the back side of the tree? If so, this tree should be carefully assessed, particularly if it is leaning towards a house, office, garage, sidewalk, etc.
  • Are there large branches with open, old, or rotting wounds? A branch like this has a high likelihood of falling.

These are just a small few of the many potential problems to look for as you maintain your trees. If you do not feel comfortable doing this by yourself, or if you simply do not have the time, simply call your local tree service professional and ask them to give your property an evaluation. Many businesses even offer such evaluations at no charge. Remember, the key to preventing tree damage is to identify potential issues early, before they develop into serious, deadly problem. More to come on this blog.

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