Is My Tree a Property Hazard? The Things to Look at When Considering Whether to Remove a Tree.
Heavy snowstorms, windstorms, and hailstorms down trees and break branches all over the Colorado Springs area every year.
Trees that have died and trees with a compromised root system, base, or trunk are at a highly increased risk of falling or having branches break.
These trees can become a big hazard to homes, vehicles, and other property. When a tree falls naturally it will land wherever the wind takes it, but with proper tree removal, a tree can be taken down safely without the damage to property.
In this article, we will cover some tips on what to look for when considering the removal of a tree.
- We will start with the trees that are the highest hazard risk to property that should be considered for removal as soon as possible.
- Then we will cover the trees with a compromised structure that may need to be considered for removal, but that may not be as urgent.
- And finally, we will go over some things to keep an eye on to protect your foundation and sewer lines from tree and shrub roots.
If your tree does need to be removed, do not wait until it is too late for it to be removed safely. Contact a Colorado Springs tree removal company for an estimate.
Trees that must be removed for property protection
These are the trees that are already gone and cannot be nursed back to health. Once a tree starts to decompose it will eventually fall.
There are many factors that determine how soon a tree will fall, and things like storms or rot may expedite the process, so it is best to have these trees removed as soon as is reasonably possible.
A dead tree may be a hazard for numerous reasons. When a tree dies it is no longer drawing in water through its vascular system, so it dries up and becomes brittle.
The decomposition process starts as insects move in and start eating and laying larva in the wood. Eventually, a dead tree will fall naturally. A storm may cause a dead tree to fall over sooner than it would otherwise, and the wind is likely to start breaking limbs and causing them to fall.
This presents a property hazard which is why it is important to always have dead trees taken down by a tree removal company before they fall naturally.
Trees with Bark Beetle
Bark beetle is a tiny little bug that can cause a massive amount of damage to trees. A bark beetle’s cuisine of choice is the Ponderosa Pine Tree and the Blue Spruce Tree.
The best way to identify bark beetle is to look for a nickel to quarter-sized holes in the bark, this is where woodpeckers have been digging into the tree looking for their cuisine of choice, the Bark Beetle. There also may be small holes the size of a pencil eraser in the bark on the trunk, this is where the beetle exits the tree after they have gone from the larva stage to being full grown.
If you peel back the bark of the tree, there may also be squiggly lines running up and down the trunk – this is where the larva bores through the tree after the eggs hatch.
If your pine tree shows signs of beetle, it is important to remove the tree as soon as possible. If the beetle has taken up residence in a tree, it is too late to save that tree and it is important to protect the rest of the trees in your area before the beetles fly.
Pine beetles are like a disease, they spread from one tree to the next, and it is important to remove an infected tree before the current beetles fly the nest and move on to the next tree. When you drive up into summit county there are entire forests that have been taken out by pine beetles laying eggs from tree to tree.
Trees that may need to be removed
Trees are such a great addition to any landscape and it is always a shame when it comes time for them to be removed entirely. When a tree is sick there are often ways to care for it and bring it back to health to help it bounce back. Deep root feeding and watering are a couple of ways to bring a tree back to full health.
While a tree that is lacking proper water and nutrients may be nursed back to health if the roots, base, or trunk of the tree have become compromised the risk of the tree falling over becomes much greater. In this case, it may be time to call a tree removal company to look at removing the tree.
These are some signs to look for to determine if it may be time to remove a compromised tree.
Is there rot at the base of the tree or in the trunk?
When a part of a tree is wounded and begins to decay, several noticeable things happen.
Fungus spreads from spores to wounded and open parts of a tree and will begin growing around the base of the tree. While not all fungus is bad for a tree it is an indicator that the tree is not doing well. The fungus spores and bacteria may start to discolor parts of the wood of a tree.
Insects also love to feed and lay eggs in dead and decomposing wood, so an increase in insect activity is another indicator that the tree is not doing well. If there is rot in the trunk, base, or roots of the tree, its structure may be compromised and there may be a possibility of it falling. It is best to have an arborist take a look at it.
Are there deep cracks at the base of the tree?
This is also a tree wound scenario. Cracks in the base of a tree are most common when a tree has been struck by lightning. Many trees can actually bounce back from a lightning strike, but if the groove is deep the tree may be compromised.
Is there excessive tree lean?
If the tree is leaning too far to one side the tree is not safe because the chances of it falling are much greater. Tree lean may be a result of a damaged root system which increases the chances that the tree will be blown over and uprooted in a storm.
Is there cracking in the soil around the base of the tree?
This is an indicator that the roots may be lifting. This may mean that the root system is damaged or compromised. If this is the case the wind may be pushing on the canopy of a tree like a sail on a boat causing the roots to uproot. Too much of this can eventually cause the tree to uproot and fall over completely.
Trees to keep an eye on
In an ideal world, trees that are planted around a home should be planted at least 20 feet away from the house, however, this is not always the case. Most trees will have a root system that is twice as wide as the tree is tall, so if you have a 40-foot tall tree, that tree may have an 80-foot wide root system.
A tree growing to close to a house is not necessarily a reason for removal by itself, but it is a tree to keep an eye on. Tree roots can grow into sewer lines, and in some cases may even cause damage to the foundation of a home.
- Tree roots growing into a sewer line or septic system
Tree and shrub roots can grow right through the pipes of a sewer line. Trees should never be planted right over a sewer line or septic system for this reason. In many cases, this problem can be mitigated.
Copper sulfate can be flushed through the sewer lines to kill the roots without killing the tree or shrub. A plumbing company may be able to run a scope through a sewer line every so often to clear it. If the problem continues a sewer line may need to be repaired or even replaced which can become very expensive.
Tree removal by a tree company may be the most economical way to take care of the problem altogether.
- Trees with roots growing toward the home foundation
In most cases, when a tree is growing too close to a foundation, the roots will still take the path of least resistance and grow along a foundation rather than growing into it. However, in some cases, it is possible for roots to grow into the foundation and cause cracking and major foundation damage.
This is more likely if the home is older because foundation technology has improved over the years. If a tree is growing too close to your home, keep an eye out for hairline cracks in the foundation.
If a tree needs to be removed, do not wait until after it becomes dangerous. Trees are safest to remove before they become a fall hazard.
Dead trees need to be removed so that they do not fall and cause damage. Trees with bark beetle need to be removed so that the beetle doesn’t fly on to other trees and cause further damage.
Trees with compromised root systems or rot in the base of the trunk may need to be removed before the become uprooted. These trees may also bounce back with care. An arborist will be able to assess the situation and give a recommendation.
Trees that grow too close to homes can have a greater risk for roots growing into sewer lines and in some cases, they can also cause damage to foundations. If there are trees or shrubs growing close to the house it is important to keep an eye on cracks or sewer problems.
Call your local tree company if you have any questions about your tree.