Why is a tree risk assessment so critical? According to Top Notch Tree, Rockland’s tree assessment service, hazardous trees are not always easy to identify. Without knowing what to look for, it’s perfectly possible to miss the signs that a tree is about to come crashing down.
In some cases, the first sign is the tree toppling. Tree care specialists recommend routine evaluations of tree conditions to avoid a potentially disastrous outcome.
What Is a Tree Risk Assessment?
A certified arborist will conduct a tree risk assessment. This process entails evaluating the tree’s condition and the environmental factors that might influence its status as a hazard. To do this, the arborist takes soil samples, checks prevailing wind and weather conditions, and checks which buildings or power lines are in the danger zone.
If they identify at-risk or defective trees, they will develop a tree risk management program detailing the steps you need to take.
What Are the Categories of Risk?
There are four categories into which the relevant tree may fall after a tree risk assessment:
- Improbable means that the tree is sturdy and likely will survive severe weather.
- Possible means that the tree may fall but is not likely to in normal conditions.
- Probable means that the tree is likely to fall.
- Imminent means that the tree is about to fall at any time.
It is crucial to identify trees that will probably fall or will do so imminently and take corrective action.
What Trees Are at Risk?
Trees that may be at risk include those that have the following:
- Bad cracks in the trunk
- Abnormal bark
- Missing bark
- Damaged or decayed sapwood or heartwood
- Big holes or hollows
- Severe damage to their roots
- Very weak roots
What Options Are There for at-Risk Trees?
The choices depend primarily on the potential for damage. If the tree is in a built-up area or could fall on a building or power line, the arborist will usually recommend removal. If not, they might suggest leaving the tree in situ to see if it can survive.
They may prune dangerous branches and reshape the tree for better stability. Then, they will support the tree’s recovery, which may include bracing weak branches and regular checkups.
Alternatively, they may suggest you move furniture or other items in the way, if possible. For example, if the tree may fall on a picnic table, they’ll advise you to move it.
An arborist will typically attempt to save the tree and only recommend removal as a last resort.
Are Regular Tree Assessments Advisable?
We recommend conducting at least one to two annual assessments as part of your regular garden maintenance. We also advise additional visits after significant storm damage or if you see signs of a pest infestation.
These consultations are inexpensive when you consider the potential cost of repairing tree damage.