Understanding Your Trees: Assessing For Distress Before You Have Property Damage

It's important to take a look at the trees on your property on occasion. If one is in distress from disease or damage, the next storm could cause the tree to collapse completely. Before you suffer from significant property damage, you should take a walk around your property and look for signs that your trees aren't as healthy as they could be. With the help of an arborist, you can identify problem trees and come up with solutions to manage any diseases. If a tree is bad enough, you may even need to remove the tree before it falls and causes damage to your home or out buildings.

Inspecting Your Trees on Your Own

To inspect your trees properly, you will need a pair of binoculars. Walk around your property, and check out the bark on the trees that you are concerned about. Signs of disease or damage will show up in the bark as cuts or bark that begins to peel off of the trunk. Use your binoculars to look at the crown of the tree. Check for branches that have broken partially off, or ones that are brown and damaged. You may also be able to see if any of the bark on the trunk higher up is damaged.

When Your Tree is Tipping

No tree is going to grow perfectly up and down, but there are signs that a tree is tipping that are hard to ignore. If the tree appears to be leaning, inspect the ground surrounding the tree. You may notice cracked soil on the side of the tree opposite of the lean, or find that there are a number of exposed tree roots at the base of the tree. The tree can be pruned by you or an arborist like ISA Texas Chapter to better distribute the weight of the crown in an effort to get the tree to stop leaning so heavily. If this doesn't work, you can also try using a brace on the tree trunk to stabilize the lean.

Look for trees with more than one trunk. If you see substantial splitting in one of the trunks, the tree can be highly unstable.

Other Signs of Distress in Trees

Trees can become distresses for any number of reasons. From bad weather, to construction going on at the property, trees will show signs of stress in a number of ways. Wilted leaves, or leaves that are smaller than normal are a sign of stress. If your tree leaves turn color before the fall season begins, your tree may be stressed.