We all love beautiful, mature trees in our yards, however if a tree is sick, it can quickly turn into a dangerous, costly hazard at risk of falling over or dropping heavy branches if it’s not taken care of. So how can you tell if you have a potentially hazardous tree? Here are some of the warning signs to look out for.
1. Leaf changes
If you notice your tree has started losing leaves out of season it could be a sign you’ve got a sick tree. Similarly, thinning, drying or discoloured leaves can also be a sign that all is not well with your tree. A tree can start experiencing unexplained leaf issues for a number of reasons, ranging from disease, pest infestation, root issues and soil problems. If your tree is showing these signs, it’s best to get the advice of a professional arborist straight away for a full diagnosis, and to find out if your tree can be saved or if it needs to be removed.
2. Dead or broken branches
If your tree has dead, damaged, broken or hanging branches it’s may be a sign that something’s wrong, and depending on the size of the branch it may need to be removed immediately so it doesn’t fall and cause injury or damage. Damaged branches can also put the tree at risk of pest invasion, disease and decay so they need to be dealt with promptly. It’s always advisable to have a professional arborist assess the tree and determine the safest way to remove the branch to avoid injury and damage.
3. Structural issues
A tree may look healthy and fine to the untrained eye, however that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. Trees can sometimes have structural issues where they have grown to be too top heavy and become susceptible to falling over. Incorrect pruning and lopping techniques can also cause a tree to lose its structural integrity. In a lot of cases, some skilful pruning carried out by a professional arborist can correct this by removing key branches.
4. Trunk changes
If you notice changes to the trunk of the tree such as splits and cracks, it may be a sign of a sick tree. Small cracks are often harmless and can develop due to changes in season, however large or deep splits and cracks are generally a sign of a problem such as structural instability, unstable soil, trunk weakness or root rot for example. Cavities and holes in a tree’s trunk are another issue which can signal sickness and should also be assessed by a professional as it can be a sign of internal decay. If a tree has suddenly started to lean it’s not to be ignored as the tree may be at risk of falling imminently.
5. Root issues
A tree’s root system is absolutely critical to its overall health and longevity. Given that roots are obviously underground, it’s often difficult to detect if there’s a problem, however there are some signs you can look out for.
Check for any musty, dark areas around the trunk of the tree, and look for any mushrooms growing on the trunk’s base which can be a sign of rotting roots. If the tree’s roots have been weakened, they may not be strong enough to hold up the tree and it may be susceptible to falling over especially in strong winds. Also look out for compressed, very saturated soil around the base of the tree which may not be able to hold the root ball and trunk in place, creating instability. Any construction work carried out too close to a tree can damage tree roots and also put the tree in jeopardy.
There are many different types of pests that can invade your trees, but the most common here in Australia are borers, termites, leaf beetles and wood wasps. Borers are most commonly found in hardwood trees and are particularly destructive. The borer beetle lays eggs in the tree trunk, the larvae then feed off the tree and starve it of essential nutrients. Borers can do a great deal of damage so spotting the signs of infestation early is very important to save the tree from becoming sick and even dying. You will normally see oval or round shaped holes in the trunk and limbs where the borer has infested the tree.
7. Soil changes
Changes to the soil immediately surrounding a tree can also give you an indication as to the tree’s health. Soil that has become cracked and extremely dry can be a sign that the tree isn’t getting enough water. Conversely, if the soil is compressed and waterlogged, it may indicate an issue.
8. Changes to the bark
Changes to a tree’s bark can be a sign of an underlying issue. If bark has started falling off the tree, is feeling spongy, has become brittle, is peeling or crumbling, it can be a sign that your tree is sick. Ask a professional arborist for a full assessment to determine the issue and what treatment is required.
When it comes to the safety of your home and family, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A sick or dying tree can be extremely dangerous and cause a huge amount of damage if it drops branches or falls over, and may need to be removed. Check with your local arborist to find out if tree removal is necessary.
Professional Help With Your Trees
Pruning and removing trees safely requires a great deal of skill, knowledge and expertise and is best left to the professionals.
Here at Aussie Tree Solutions, we’re your local team of fully qualified Brisbane Arborists, providing expert tree removal and tree pruning services for over 35 years. If you have a tree you’re concerned about, don’t delay. Call us now on (07) 3351 1722 for a free, no obligation quote.