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

Just Posted

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

Red Deerians await local cannabis stores

So far 31 stores in Alberta awarded licence to operate

Rimbey RCMP seek missing man with health concerns

Has anyone seen Bill Harris of Ponka County?

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Woody Baron co-authors children’s book

TORONTO — Woody Baron finds the spectre of tangling with a hulking… Continue reading

Sundin not surprised Leafs asking stars to take less money to stay together

TORONTO — Mats Sundin isn’t surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are asking… Continue reading

Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC

WASHINGTON — It’s a hobby among District of Columbia locals: Picking apart… Continue reading

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales

LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theatres, Michael… Continue reading

iPhone XR makes the right trade-offs for a cheaper price

NEW YORK — Apple offers you a simple trade-off with its new… Continue reading

BMW to recall 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over fire risk

FRANKFURT — Automaker BMW says it is expanding a recall to cover… Continue reading

Calgary awaits federal financing on 2026, Notley suggests IOC could pay more

CALGARY — With the clock ticking towards a Calgary vote on hosting… Continue reading

Toronto Mayor John Tory cruises to victory; tech issues extend voting elsewhere

Toronto Mayor John Tory easily won re-election on Monday after a spirited… Continue reading

Most Read