How to Know if a Tree Will Fall: Six Signs to Watch For

how to know if a tree will fall

Understanding how to know if a tree will fall is a useful skill that can prevent significant property damage and possibly even save lives. In this post, Affordable Tree Services, Laurel’s tree removal experts, explain more about the signs that your tree is likely to topple over. 

With these tips, you can determine when it’s worth caring for storm-damaged trees and when it’s worth throwing in the towel. 

1. Dead Branches

If you see dead branches littering the ground, your tree is either dead already or on its way. The plant drops branches because it lacks the nutrients to support them, and they wither and die. 

You’ll also see dead limbs on relatively healthy trees but not to the same widespread extent. If you do notice these, trim them as soon as possible to help the tree save nutrients. It can then focus on strengthening itself rather than trying to save a dying limb. 

2. Missing Bark  

The tree’s bark is its primary defense mechanism, so if this is missing, it’s a bad sign. The danger here is that it exposes the heartwood, making the tree more vulnerable to pest damage and disease. 

The tree can heal small losses, but large areas sloughing off is usually fatal. 

3. Hollow Spots in the Trunk

When learning how to know if a tree will fall, this is one of the leading signs. Hollow or soft spots in the trunk usually mean that a fungus is attacking the heartwood. By this stage, the chances of saving the tree are minimal, and it has compromised structural integrity.

4. Fungus on Roots or Root Decay

Fungus growing anywhere on the tree is bad news, but it’s especially bad at the base or roots. This indicates that the roots are already starting to rot, which means that the tree can fall relatively easily. 

Call professionals quickly, as these trees can topple even if the weather’s nice. 

5. Leaning Tree 

If the tree begins to lean, it’s a bad sign. You might also notice the soil starting to rise on the opposite side. This is an urgent situation because the tree is falling already.

With quick action, an arborist may be able to stabilize and save it, but they need to act immediately. 

6. Tree Trunk Cracks

A large vertical crack usually spells the end for a tree because it means it’s splitting. An arborist may support the tree using supports, cables, or bolts, saving it, but it won’t be the same again. It will always be a little weaker in that spot. 

Call Us for Professional Advice 

If you want to learn more about how to know if a tree will fall or have other questions, we can help. For example, do you need a tree removal permit? Or would you simply like a professional risk evaluation on a tree in your yard? Affordable Tree Services is your go-to team in Laurel and the surrounding areas, so call us at (301) 512-5531 to schedule service. 

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