At the Time of Writing:
Severe storms have hit the state of Texas, with numerous cases of property damages been reported. Tornadoes near Dallas-TX, one in Laguna Park and the other in Grand Paraire, have caused tree knockdowns, blown over chimneys and damaged roofs. Frisco, a city which is a part of Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, suffered heavy damages as more than 30 homes were left flirting with severe destruction, partially due to the fell over hazard trees. We would like to express our support and offer help, wherever possible, to the people of Dallas and Forth Worth in these testing times.
As a company which offers tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth Area, storm destruction is something we are commonly aware of. These storms bring with them strong currents of wind, hail and heavy snow which in isolation are enough to cause property damages and loss of lives on a mass scale. However, the impact of these storms increases by two-fold when they also leverage the damage risks carried by urban plantations.
Where urban forests are a valuable resource, providing economic, social and environmental benefits – improper care and maintenance can turn these plantations into hazard trees. These trees carry risks which can potentially harm an individual or property if they are not pruned or felled off at the right time. This sense of danger invites an overly-reactive response from home owners and building managements where they end up chopping down trees which do not even fall into the category of “hazard trees”. While others, who do not have the knowledge on how to identify a hazard tree, end up ignoring a situation of potential risk which ends up costing them in future. Being professionals of tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth Area, we felt it was our responsibility to educate our readers about hazard trees and how to identify them – a realization which gave birth to this blog.
Please note that the following guidelines are not meant to dissuade the readers from consulting a professional which provides tree service in Dallas and Forth Worth Area. There are many aspects of hazard tree identification process which can only be understood by a professional. These instructions only serve as safety precautions and guidelines for initial analysis.
Let’s First Understand, What Hazard Trees Are
Hazard trees are trees which carry structural defects, increasing their probability to fall-off in part or on whole. The defect could be a result of ageing, fire decay and viral infection. However, for a tree to be legally classified as a hazard tree there must be a target (property or people) within its falling range. This clash of technical and legal definitions does not mean that you should ignore all the trees which do not have a target in their falling range. Some plantations go on to survive for decades and hundreds of years and as such your pruning and felling practices cannot be based on the existing establishments. For further guidance on this subject, please consult your local professionals of tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth Area.
Tree Inspection – How to Identify a Hazard Tree?
The identification of a hazard tree involves a systematic procedure where homeowners and building management should start with crown inspection and all the way down to investigating root decays. However, before starting a targeted inspection, you need to consider the following points to aid in your overall identification process:
- Know your tree’s botanical classification – Some trees have been found to be more brittle than others. For instance box elders, silver maple and willows. As such you need to inspect these species more thoroughly with minimum window for observational leniency. To know more about tree species which are likely to be less resistant to structural defects please consult a tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth Area.
- Know your tree’s history – This would help you to identify past events which may have resulted in improper regrowth or reduced strength. For example, if the standing tree has overseen a history of local storms then it is more likely to fall off than a tree which has a lesser plagued history.
- Look at the overall balance – Before going for targeted inspection, it is important that you look at the overall balance of a tree. If a tree is lopsided or inclined at an angle, it carries higher risk of causing damage than the trees which have a balanced structural growth.
Once you have walked through these initial guidelines it is now time for a more comprehensive inspection.
Inspecting the Crown
When examining the crown you should look for following signs:
- Dead branches as these can be easily snapped-off by slow speed winds or a force of less magnitude. Call in a company which provides tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth Area and get the dead outgrowths pruned.
- Crossed branches as they have inherent weak spots which make them more likely to fall off. Also look for branches which are rubbing against the roof surface as they can easily damage the roofing system.
- Poor tree vitality by assessing factors like the leaf coverage area, the leaf size and its color. Compare your observations with other trees in the local neighborhood of the same species. These vitality parameters provide an indication of the overall health status of a tree. However, since this requires an expert analysis make sure that you corroborate your findings with a local tree service in Dallas and Forth Worth.
Inspecting the Trunk
When examining the trunk, you should look for the following signs:
- Forked trunk which is a sign of a weakened structure and an obtrusive outgrowth. Moreover, forked trunks are also more susceptible to viral infections.
- External decays, cankers, cavities and fungus conks. Sometimes these signs may not be evident on the outside. In these cases a certified arboriculturalist which provides tree service in Dallas and Forth Worth, may have to use specialized equipments and methodologies to study the trunk from the inside.
Inspecting the Roots
Root decay and deformities are the major reasons which contribute to structural deficiencies in a tree. Look for any mushroom growth near the roots and for any severed attachments.
Urban forests are an important part of our ecosystem and as such complete removal of hazard trees should be your last resort. Contact a team of arboriculturalists, which provides tree service in Dallas and Fort Worth to see if you can come up with an effective strategy to eliminate the potential risks without completely chopping the hazard trees.