I would like to start off by thanking Cynthia Daniels for the mention in the January 10 Newsday article "How To Tell When A Tree Might Be In Trouble". It was a pleasure to help out with such an important topic, that I thought that I would go into a little more detail about it.
Hazardous trees are something that all homeowners, property owners, property managers and renters need to be able to recognize, yet they are sometimes not noticed, overlooked or put on the back burner for other more important things. Please note- not all hazardous trees are very noticeable. A Certified Arborist should be called in at least once a year or after any major storms to assess the condition of the trees to determine if any tree poses an imminent threat to the surrounding environs.
The next time you are out in your yard, I would ask that you look at your trees for a few minutes and look for any of the signs that you may have a potentially dangerous condition.
You should ask yourself the following questions to find potential hazards in your trees:
1. Are there any large dead, dying or hanging limbs in areas where children or pets would likely to be or are they extending over the house, driveways, patios or around the wires?
2. Are there any large cracks in the trees?
3. Are there mushrooms around the base of the trees, in the root zone or are there any fungal growths on the trunk, branches or exposed roots of the trees?
4. Are there any cavities or holes in the trunk or main branches which are exposing the inner wood or are hollowed out?
5. Is the tree next to a driveway that was just redone- or was any other type of construction done within the trees root zone?
6. Has the tree started to lean? If so this could be a sign of a weak root system.
7. have the trees been severely pruned, topped (a big no-no), or lionstailed? If so this could lead to weak branches as the tree replaces its canopy.
8. Has there been a history of boring insects or other insect damage?
I must, however, caution you- there are hidden defects in trees that requires a practiced and trained eye to spot, as well as some problems that can only be detected through invasive testing such as core sampling or Resistograph testing.
T this time the tree care industry has joined in with the U.S. Forestry Service in a joint project called the International Tree Failure Database (ITFD). This program is modeled after a program that the state of California started about 10 years ago. This is a voluntary program where trained Arborists and Forestry Service personnel will be taking measurements, site information, tree types and other detailed information on any fallen or broken trees in reference to the failure and the causes behind it. This information will be compiled and used to try to predict which trees are most likely to fail and the most likely causes of their failures.
There are a number of great sources for further information on this, and other tree related subjects on the International Society of Arborist's website www.treesaregood.com ,The Tree Care Industry of America (TCIA) has many press releases at www.natlarb.com/content/news/pressreleases.htm ,and the U.S. Forestry Service has a brochure on recognizing tree hazards at www.na.fs.fed.us/sbfo/pubs/howtos/ht_haz/ht_haz.htm .
If there is anything that I can ever help you with, please do not hesitate to contact me at 631-691-2381 or at 631-466-2930 or by E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .