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Is That Big Tree An Asset Or A Risk?

As Fall continues to envelope us, it’s obvious that winter is not going to pass us by this year. It’s just taking its own sweet time and giving us an opportunity to extend our outdoor season.

If you’ve done all of the winter preparations I’ve shared over the past few weeks, everything should be secured and you are ready to relax and begin planning for spring. Or are you? Have you inspected your big trees, or had one of our Certified Arborists inspect them? This is one task that’s free from weather restrictions. Tree inspections can be done in anyweather.

Even if you want us to inspect your trees, a glance up and down and all around your tree(s) will give you an idea of what to expect. Then the results of our professional inspection won’t come as a complete surprise.

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) has published this checklist to guide you:

  • Are there large, dead branches in the trees?
  • Are there detached branches hanging in the trees?
  • Do the trees have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?
  • Are mushrooms present at the base of the trees?
  • Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?
  • Have any branches fallen from the trees?
  • Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?
  • Have the trunks developed a strong lean?
  • Do many of the major branches arise from one point on the trunk?
  • Have the roots been broken off, injured or damaged by lowering the soil level, installing pavement, repairing sidewalks or digging trenches?
  • Has the site recently been changed by construction, raising the soil level or installing lawns?
  • Didthe leaves prematurely develop an unusual color or size?
  • Have trees in adjacent wooded areas been removed?
  • Have the trees been topped or otherwise heavily pruned?

This self examination is like a self examination for your own health. If you answered yes to any of the questions, it’s time to call our professionals. Our arborists work throughout the winter, so their season isn’t over. They actually prefer working in winter when deciduous trees are leafless and they can see their structure.

Our arborist may recommend pruning the tree to remove dead or dying branches, or branches that are damaged in some other way. If more than one branch is growing from one point on the trunk, cabling and bracing may be the best treatment. We install threaded rods in the trunk near the point where the multiple stems grow out from the main trunk and cables up in the crown to reduce wind stress and the added weight of snow and ice. We’ll check the root zone for such problems as girdling room and correct that surgically.

In some cases, such as trees with significant rot, we may have to recommend removing the tree for your safety and that of your neighbors.

After a tree inspection, you can enjoy the winter with the peace of mind that you’ve done all you can to assure that your valuable trees will be less apt to cause any damage to themselves or their surroundings.

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