Have Your Trees Inspected This Fall

We have to have our vehicles inspected every year to be sure they’re mechanically sound and many of us have an annual physical to make sure our body is working the way it should. The trees in your yard combine both biology and mechanics to stay healthy and sound. So, for the same reason you and your car need an annual check up, I recommend an annual check of your trees – a thorough biomechanical inspection by a professional arborist to be sure they don’t present a hazard to people or property.

Like us, trees have many natural enemies. They are being attacked by insects and diseases, many of which are invasive pests from other countries. Fungi attack them, causing them to rot. Often, you don’t even know rot is destroying your tree from the inside out until fruiting bodies that look like mushrooms appear on the trunk or the tree fails and limbs begin breaking off.

One tree enemy that is often overlooked is the wind. We realize the wind is a hazard only when a storm causes branches and whole trees to break and uproot. It doesn’t take a strong wind to break a rotted tree, though.

The most positive way to identify any hazards and to be sure your trees are healthy is with an annual tree inspection. Our arborists examine your tree from the crown to the roots, checking for insect activity, diseases, cracks in the trunk and major limbs, significant lean, narrow forks and signs of internal decay.

Many of these conditions can be repaired. Narrow forks, for example, indicate a weakness in which one of the limbs can break. We fix this condition by a process called cabling and bracing. We put a threaded rod through the two limbs near the fork, then secure it with big washers and nuts. The tree grows around the hardware. Up in the crown, we install a network of cables to reduce flexing in the wind.

Several devices are available for us to identify the presence and extent of internal rot. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the tree has to be taken down right away. The tree’s future depends on the location and amount of rot present. Trees can live for decades before rot becomes so extensive that they should be removed.

Some conditions that may need immediate action include the removal of limbs hanging over your house, pool, power lines or any other place where they can cause expensive damage. We would also recommend removal of any dead, diseased, crossing, rubbing broken/hanging branches.

Trees add value to your property. Like anything of value, your trees need care to retain that value. Unfortunately, when a problem is visible to you, it may be too late. That’s why an annual inspection is inexpensive insurance for keeping your trees growing in value.

3 comments on “Have Your Trees Inspected This Fall

  1. Nice post.

  2. Yes! As the communications director at a tree care company with 5 certified arborists, I constantly get calls from homeowners who simply don’t know what to do with their trees. Maybe they need removal, maybe just pruning. But you don’t know unless someone with a trained eye inspects them!

  3. Hey, that is (part of) my work!

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