Ask the Experts, Tree Care & Trimming

When Are Your Trees a Risk or Dangerous?

When Are Your Trees a Risk or Dangerous? | Dallas Landscaping | Southern Botanical

We all love how trees can beautify a landscape. However, they too can pose a threat to your property in various ways. Hiring an arborist who has professional training in tree risk assessment can give you peace of mind. It would be good too if you know how to recognize a dangerous tree. 

When a tree’s health declines or when it is damaged, it becomes a hazard. Sometimes, the behavior of a declining tree is hard to predict, and its internal damage is hard to properly evaluate from the outside. 

Knowing how to identify signs of damage may save your tree from becoming a hazard. Or, it can be removed before it damages your property or hurt a person. 

Your Dallas landscaping company would like to offer some advice.  There are identifying signs that point to a dangerous tree. They include:

  • Poor crown form
  • Root damage
  • Split or cracked bark
  • Decaying or dead wood

Identifying these signs will reduce your chances of having a serious issue. When in doubt, get a professional for a tree inspection as soon as possible.

1. Poor crown form

The crown’s form and vigor are good indicators of the tree’s general health. A tree with a misshapen or uneven crown can indicate that its internal structure is damaged, and hence, might be a hazard. This may be due to bad topping or pruning cuts, bad growing conditions, or storm damage.    Bad pruning practices can result in suckering branches that are not securely attached or water sprouts. A tree that is grown in bad conditions is one that is in too much shade, where its branches will grow unevenly and weakly in search of sunlight.    When the tree crown is uneven, it will not be able to support itself since its weight is unevenly distributed.  Big, overgrown branches will only contribute to its imbalance.    Get your tree checked if it:

  • Has water sprouts, heading cuts, or it has been topped.
  • Leans over to one side.
  • Have huge branches that have overtaken the size of its main branch.

2. Root damage

We all know that the tree’s lifeline is its root system. If the root system is not healthy and strong, the tree might become hazardous and unbalanced. 
A damaged root system makes for a tree that is more likely to fall over during a natural calamity or from the weight of its own branches.    The damage can happen in different ways, and they include:

You can spot root damage in the tree’s crown. Check also for small, yellowed, or browned leaves. These indicate that the roots are not transporting enough nutrients and water to the rest of the tree.  

3. Split or cracked bark

The bark serves as the tree’s protection. It keeps diseases and insects from getting in, moderates a tree’s temperature, and cushions against injuries. A tree with a split or cracked bark has exposed its internal wood to decay or may indicate that bigger issues have already damaged the tree from the inside.    Call your arborist if you notice the following:

  • Cracks exposing underlying wood.
  • Deep splits or cracks in the bark.
  • A split or crack that extends beyond a wound.
  • Cracks in the same area.
  • A cracked or split branch that is huge enough to cause damage if it falls.

4. Decaying or dead wood

One of the most dangerous symptoms of a tree is visible decay. If you spot areas of crumbling bark, or conks or mushrooms growing on your tree, it may indicate internal structure decay. Decay can be more serious in large trees because its potential for hazard is much greater.     If you see dead wood on your tree’s crown, it is a huge sign of a dangerous tree. Dead wood is brittle and can fall without warning.   Call a landscaping professional once you see:

  • Large branches with decay.
  • Bark cracks, decay around branches, or weak branch unions.
  • A weak attachment that is near an existing crack or wound.
  • A weak branch attachment.
  • Signs of bark splitting.

  If you spot any of the hazard symptoms in this article, your tree may have serious defects. It’s time to act responsibly and have your tree(s) evaluated by your Dallas landscaping professionals. While we all love our trees and wish for them to have a long lifespan, there is no tree that is so precious that it puts your family, others, or your property at risk.

“How to Recognize & Prevent Tree Hazards,” Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, 
“The Dangers of Root Disturbance,” Arborilogical, 
“How to Tell if a Tree is Dangerous,” Joshua Tree, 
“Tree Dangers,” International Association of Certified Home Inspectors,