7 Common Tree Defects

It’s crucial to be aware of potential tree defects that can pose safety risks or indicate underlying health issues.  Here are the top seven tree defects to watch out for:

  1. Dead or Broken Branches: Dead branches or branches with no leaves are a significant hazard as they can fall unexpectedly, especially during storms or high winds. Broken branches that are still hanging in the canopy should also be removed promptly.
  2. Decay and Cavities: Inspect the trunk and major branches for signs of decay or cavities. Decayed wood is weaker and can compromise the tree’s structural integrity, making it prone to failure.
  3. Cracks or Splits: Check for vertical or horizontal cracks in the trunk or large branches. Cracks can be a sign of internal weakness and may lead to branch or trunk failure.
  4. Codominant Stems: Codominant stems are two or more main stems that grow closely together and compete for dominance. These can create weak attachments, increasing the risk of splitting and falling.
  5. Root Problems: Look for signs of root issues, such as heaving soil, exposed roots, or roots growing around the base of the tree. Damaged or severed roots can affect the tree’s stability and health.
  6. Leaning or Unstable Trees: Trees that are noticeably leaning or have shifted from their original position may be at risk of falling. Leaning trees can indicate root problems or structural issues.
  7. Excessive Canopy Dieback: Observe the overall health of the tree’s canopy. If you notice significant dieback, where large sections of the canopy have dead or declining leaves, it could be a sign of disease or other health problems.

Keep in mind that some tree defects may not be immediately apparent, especially those occurring within the tree’s structure. Regular inspections by a certified arborist are recommended, as they have the expertise to identify hidden issues and provide appropriate recommendations for tree care or removal if necessary. Promptly addressing tree defects can help prevent property damage, personal injury, and the loss of the tree itself.


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