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54 SEASIDE homes | september 2013
west coast G ardener dangerous trees 101 As a consulting arborist with Scotty Tree & Arborist Service, I am most often called out to consult on potential hazardous trees. While it is a good bet trees are safer then they appear, here are a few checks a concerned homeowner can look for when considering their tree's condition. ROOTS: Check for fungal or fruiting by Scott Mitchell bodies such as conks or mushrooms at Scotty Tree & Arborist Service the base and on the ground within a few feet of the trunk. Pulling any ivy or other material back from the area where the trunk meets the ground will ensure you're not missing a concealed fruiting body. As a healthy, well-rooted tree should have no ground movement even during high winds, look for signs the root plate has shifted. There might be cracks in the soil or roots that have lifted up or a slight lean in the trunk that wasn't there before. Standing on the root plate when the tree is buffeted by wind can determine if the root plate is moving: be careful here! Another important consideration is standing water or saturated soils. Not only do most tree species suffer root loss under these conditions, the holding power of saturated soil is greatly reduced. TRUNK: Look for signs of cracks in the trunk; sap flow is generally present with new or recently aggravated cracks. Scan the trunk for cavities: cavities need to be examined to determine how much structural wood is left. Fras or fine saw dust is associated with wood-boring insects. It is often noticed at the base of a tree. Large woodpecker holes are another sure-fire sign the tree has insects inside it. Multi stemmed trees with narrow, angled attachment points can fail, as the multiple trunks don't have room to add sufficient wood uniformly. BRANCHES: The branches play an important role in dissipating energy by dampening the tree trunks' movement. Along with the fact there are far more branches then trunks on a tree, the most likely parts of a tree to fail are branches. Branches can have the same narrow attachment angles that multi-stemmed trees can have. Look for bark being trapped between the attachment points. Obvious larger dead branches are a self-evident risk. Some branches may be missing sections of bark, indicating they are partially dead and compromised. Tip die back can be a clue that a branch is dying. If any of these signs are noticed call in a consultant. In British Columbia an arboricultural consultant should be a registered and certified tree risk assessor. Avoid the temptation to have a free estimate from a sales representative: pay for a professional assessor to accurately determine the true risk your trees might pose. For more information visit www.victoriatrees.com.
Published on Aug 29, 2013
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