Trees should be regularly inspected in order to spot potential health & safety risks. Tree owners should try to preserve the trees they love as well as protecting yourself, your home and others from a dangerous tree. Nothing will replace the opinion of a professional, but before you rush to call your local tree surgeon, here are a few tips on how to inspect a tree to spot potential risks and issues.
A tree is held and fed by its roots, which makes them very important. There are 2 types of roots: the big ones to anchor the tree and the smaller ones to absorb nutrients from the ground. If the anchoring roots are decaying, they could still be appearing fine if the absorbing roots are still pulling nutrients and water from the ground. Pull ivy away from roots and observe the ground: a raise or crack in the ground opposite a tree’s lean can indicate root disturbances.
Mushrooms on or at the base of a tree trunk indicate decay. This will be particularly serious if there are a lot of them.
Cavities and cracks in the trunk increase the risk of the whole tree splitting up. But a cavity is not always a reason to remove a tree, depending on the general health of the tree and the size of the cavity. Look for places in the trunk where there is no bark or fine sawdust shavings. Both can be an indicator that the tree has a disease, as insects often attack sick trees.
The most obvious dangers in a tree are its branches. It is fairly easy to spot dead branches as they will have brown leaves or no leaves at all. Evaluating a tree in winter can be a lot trickier and left to a specialist. If there has been a violent storm or a lot of wind, look out for broken branches.
Don’t wait for the trees to show that it is dangerous or sick but be proactive: look after your trees. You can inspect trees to decide if you need to call a professional. Keep in mind that you will be probably expected to pay for a tree inspection, as you are paying for the tree surgeon’s time and expertise.