That big tree could be about to fall on your roof

After a severe windstorm it is common to see trees that have fallen or ones that look unstable.

After a severe windstorm it is common to see trees that have fallen or ones that look unstable.

While the wind does the visual and lasting damage, it is likely that the tree itself was in poor condition before the storm.

Be proactive and exam trees that are close to buildings on a regular basis. If the tree is weak it should be removed before it falls, creating thousands of dollars worth of damage.

There are seven main factors to look for that indicate a tree is in poor health: deadwood, cracks, weak unions, decay, cankers, roots, and poor structure.

Dead wood is easy to spot especially in the summer as the empty branches are very visible.

During the winter months deadwood can be spotted if it has lost or is loosing bark. Dead branches on the top (or crown) of the tree need to be removed before they fall. While dead branches are often an indication that the tree should be removed it isn’t always the case.

Look for other indicators before removing the tree. Check for cracks in the trunk of the tree. These can form for many reasons many of which are not a reason to remove the tree.

A healthy tree will start to form a callus to close the crack. If the tree is not healthy the crack will become deeper as opposed to healing. Deep cracks with a leaning tree are an indication that the tree will soon fall over.

A weak branch union sounds ominous and it can be. This is when the top of a tree, central leader was removed when the tree was small and two leaders are allowed to grow.

If the leaders grow big and move in opposite directions in the wind, a crack can form between the two trunks, down the central trunk. It is best to remove the tree at the first sign of a crack.

Trees decay from the inside out. This is not a problem until there is less than one inch (2.45 cm) of healthy wood to six inches (15 cm) of rotten wood. The exact health of the tree can be determined by taking a core sample at various heights. Another indication of decay is deep cracks in the main trunk.

Cankers are areas of the tree that have died from diseases.

They are easy to see as they will appear shrunken, or without bark. Many trees will live for years with small cankers. They become a problem when they reach over half way around the tree.

A good root structure is what keeps a tree upright. Disturb the roots of the tree or surrounding trees and the tree’s health is in danger.

As the root structure is underground, one has to look at the upper tree for clues to the roots health. Dead limbs and small leaves are both indications that the roots are having trouble supplying enough nutrients to feed the tree.

Another very serious indication is a small mound of dirt developing on one side of the tree. The mound is from broken roots. This is what anchors the trees into the ground.

The last indicator, poor structure, is usually a human-caused problem. If trees are poorly pruned to the point that large stumps are evident, the tree is more likely to have internal problems and need to be removed.

Many trees will grow for years without any problems, others not. To avoid expensive problems keep an eye on your trees especially if they are close to buildings.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturist and educator living in Rocky Mountain House. You can contact her at your_garden@hotmail.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Weather brief (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Red Deer experiences driest winter in 99 years

The city only had 9.6 millimeters of precipitation between December and February

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 has been climbing up since Jan. 20 at Red Deer's Olymel meat processing plant. (File photo by Advocate Staff)
Some Olymel workers return for training, plant reopening date not set

Union calls for delay of opening as workers fear for safety

Justine Vandergrift will be among the female performers at Red Deer’s International Women’s Day Concert, which can be viewed for free on YouTube at 7 p.m. on Monday. (Contributed image).
Red Deer’s International Womens’ Day concert to be streamed online Monday

It can be watched for free from a Facebook events link

Lorna Johnson, Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery executive director, stands next to a painting by David More, which is part of his ‘Shore Figures: Sylvan Lake’ collection. The MAG re-opened its doors Thursday after being closed due to COVID-19. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff
Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery executive director retiring

Lorna Johnson will retire in October after a 17-year career

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservative MP David Sweet joins chorus calling for end to COVID-19 restrictions

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has joined the chorus of voices calling… Continue reading

The Onslow Belmont Fire Brigade is seen in Lower Onslow, N.S., Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The RCMP says two officers who fired towards a civilian and another RCMP officer during last year’s mass shooting will remain on administrative duties until internal inquiries are completed .THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
N.S. RCMP who shot at firehall on administrative duty during internal reviews of case

HALIFAX — The RCMP says two officers who fired towards a civilian… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Efforts to increase Canada's ability to produce vaccines is among over 100 projects receiving new federal money. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Over 100 new projects to get $518 million in federal research funding

OTTAWA — Efforts to boost Canada’s ability to produce vaccines are among… Continue reading

Hassan Diab, whose allegations of involvement in a 1980 synagogue bombing were dismissed by French judges for lack of evidence, listens during a press release on the release of an external review on his extradition by the Justice Department on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Friday, July 26, 2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is signalling that Canada will stand up for Diab, an Ottawa sociology professor facing trial in France, following calls from human-rights advocates to intervene. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Trudeau signals support for Hassan Diab as Ottawa professor appeals case in France

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is signalling Canada will stand up… Continue reading

NDP MP Niki Ashton stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, April 26, 2018. Two prominent Jewish advocacy groups are voicing anti-Semitism concerns ahead of a public conversation between NDP MP Niki Ashton and former U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Jewish groups raise anti-Semitism concerns ahead of NDP MP’s chat with Corbyn

OTTAWA — Two prominent Jewish advocacy groups are voicing concerns about anti-Semitism… Continue reading

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Public Health Agency of Canada budgets $5B for COVID-19 vaccines, treatments

OTTAWA — The Public Health Agency of Canada expects to spend up… Continue reading

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed optimism Wednesday that his government’s timeline for… Continue reading

UCP MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr. (File photo)
MLA Ron Orr: Benchmarks were achieved but goalposts were moved

Orr responds to concerns, calls on province to fully open Step 2

Most Read