Tips for Identifying a Hazardous Tree

Tips for Identifying a Hazardous Tree

Jan 4, 2023

Trees are highly beneficial. They’re beautiful, good for the environment, and improve the look of your property. But trees can also be dangerous.

Sometimes trees may fall and damage property or, worse, injure someone. Falling tree hazards can be a huge liability with far-reaching financial consequences.

If you’re concerned about hazardous trees on your property, it’s best to eliminate the liability. A Tree Risk Assessment performed by a certified Tree Inspector can help you identify dangerous trees and take appropriate corrective measures.

How to Identify and Prevent Tree Hazards?

Hiring a professional is the best way to identify hazardous trees and improve safety levels on your property. A certified tree inspector is trained and highly skilled to identify and prevent tree hazards. Besides the obvious signs, they’re likely to help you fix potential tree hazards before they snowball into major problems.

Wondering how to inspect and prevent tree hazards? Here’s a simple guide:

Observe the Trunk

Decay is the primary cause of tree failure, and it occurs when fungus attacks a tree. In a healthy tree, the flexible fibers allow the tree to bend and sway, but decaying fibers are weak and brittle. Tree butt swells, seams, dead branch stubs, and cracks often point to tree decay.

Tree defects such as wounds and cankers also increase the likelihood of tree failure. They create weak points on the tree trunk and lower the tree’s ability to withstand the prevailing winds. Strong winds often cause trees to break at a canker or wound.

Inspect the Crown

Crown form and vigor are the best indicators of a tree’s health. The crown of a potentially hazardous tree will have V-shaped forks, dieback, and may be lopsided. Dieback happens from the top down in response to drought, insect defoliation, soil compaction or root disease. If caught early, dieback is reversible, but trees with advanced crown decline will eventually die.

Lopsided and leaning trees pose a safety hazard if towering over an object or structure. Trees with a lean greater than 15 degrees pose a safety threat. However, a tree that has naturally grown at a lean isn’t as hazardous as straight trees that later developed a lean.

The lean may result from root damage or strong winds. A tree inspector looks for telltale clues such as uplifted soil on the opposite side and the growth form of the trees to gauge a tree’s safety level.


Root health and integrity are crucial for tree growth and development. No matter how insignificant, root damage increases the likelihood of tree failure. In most cases, root damage from construction equipment may pass unnoticed for years or decades.

Stunted growth, thin crowns, small, off-colored leaves, and discolored or resin-soaked root collars point to a root problem. Another sign of poor root condition is the presence of disease-causing root-rot or fruiting bodies at the base of a tree.

  1. A tree inspection can help you determine the threat level and take timely corrective measures. The intervention measures depend on the type and extent of tree damage. Measures may include treating the disease, pruning, bracing, or removing trees entirely.

What Makes a Tree Hazardous?

A hazardous tree is a weak tree with a high probability of falling and causing damage. Such a tree will likely have structural defects that may cause branches or the entire tree to fall. The tree becomes a potential hazard if a target, such as a car, structure, or a person, is at risk of being hit. Potential damages and costs are high when something or someone is harmed.

Call in the Pros

If you’re concerned about potential falling tree hazards on your property, it’s time to call the professionals. Hiring a reliable tree service company in your area will help improve tree safety on your property. Our certified tree inspectors will identify hazardous trees and recommend the best action.

A professional tree risk assessment can save lives and protect property.

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