It can be a hard call to make: can you take care of a sick, dead, or dying tree or should you let a professional take the reigns? While there are many preventative tree care measures the average homeowner can do themselves, there are some better left to the professionals.
Tree professionals diagnose trees as a whole. Homeowners who attempt to remedy a tree emergency may do more damage to the tree, themselves, or their property in the process.
To erase some of the doubt you may have, we’ve compiled a list of X signs you should call a tree professional.
1. Trees touching power lines
Branches, twigs, and leaves that are growing in and through power lines pose a major fire hazard and should be reported immediately. In fact, trees touching power lines have been blamed for some wildfires in Northern California this past year.
An untrained individual attempting to trim trees near power lines puts themselves, their neighbors, and surrounding property at high risk for fire, injury, and death.
If a tree on your property is touch a power line, it is your civic duty to call a professional and have the threat eliminated. If you see trees on city/state/federal or a neighbor’s property that may be cause for concern, it is wise to report it as soon as possible.
2. Branches splitting/preparing to fall
After storms or heavy winds, it isn’t uncommon for weak branches to crack, split, or fall. It may be tempting to grab a buddy and a ladder to help the branch down, but serious injury from falling branches isn’t uncommon either.
There are plenty of professional tree services that offer emergency service and can be at your door in a matter of minutes (especially after a major storm). Don’t risk injuring yourself, a friend, property, or the tree itself by trying to fell a branch.
3. Exposed root systems
Improper pruning and other factors can cause trees to lean to one side, eventually uprooting from the soil and creating a fall hazard. If a tree on or near your property has an exposed root system, it’s time to call a professional.
Do not attempt to brace the tree yourself or wait for the tree to fall. Though it may seem like a freak accident, humans are killed too often by naturally fallen trees.
4. Branches resting on or rubbing your home
You hear a tap, tap, tap against your window pane; your tree’s branches are one wind gust away from breaking the glass. Though it may be tempting to take loppers to a branch resting on your home, we advise you to call a professional.
Not only can improper pruning cause more severe tree emergencies in the future (see above), falling branches can seriously injure people, pets, and property. If a branch is rubbing or resting on your home, don’t take any chances trying to remove it yourself.
5. Decay is visible
Though it may not seem like a pressing issue, visible decay is a sign that a tree is becoming weaker by the moment. As it rots from the inside out, the tree will begin to lose limbs and branches that can create a fall hazard.
As soon as you notice tree decay, call a professional to assess it for you. The tree may be able to survive with proper treatment and costly tree removal may not be needed.
6. A tree has already fallen
If you own acres of land, it may take you some time to notice is a tree has fallen. But if you live in a well-populated area, a fallen tree hardly goes unnoticed.
If a tree has fallen on your property and isn’t putting other trees at a fall risk, blocking roadways/sidewalks, or causing property damage, it is up to you to get it removed. If you see a fallen tree in a public area such as a park or roadway, it’s best to call the city officials to have the tree removed.