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How to Tell When a Tree Becomes Dangerous

Knowing how to recognize a dangerous tree or hiring professionals to assess trees can give homeowners peace of mind. The Davey Tree Expert Company offers advice.

Read the story below or see it in Brecksville Patch.


How to Tell When a Tree Becomes Dangerous

By Kathy Morris Bakhshi, Brecksville Patch

I love trees. I guess most people do love them, but I feel especially humbled in the presence of trees, and the hush of a forest gives me goosebumps. And I'm not embarrassed to say that I'm an actual tree-hugger.
However, it seems like most houses that I’ve lived in have had a larger-than-normal tree growing right outside of my bedroom window. As a result, I’ve spent many sleepless nights listening to acorns fall on the roof, only to be woken by the sound of squirrels running laps above me at 5 a.m. And I’ve never been able to sleep during a storm because I’ve seen that news footage of a giant, uprooted tree lying on top of a flattened house.
Brecksville’s Code of Ordinances states that the outside of premises must be free of hazards, including dead, rotted or damaged trees or limbs. The code can be viewed at the Brecksville branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.
The Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture gives some information on “hazard trees” and says on a document on  the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry website that lives and property can be saved by taking the proper precautions. 
Some of the warning signs of hazardous trees, according to the document from the service, include dead wood, cracks, weak branch unions, decay and root problems. The service gives excellent descriptions and shows examples. They also mention ways to remedy a problem tree, including recognizing when branches should be pruned and knowing when to remove a tree altogether. They stress that tree removal should be a last resort, after other options have been considered, and should probably be done by a professional arborist.
ForestPathology.org also gives detailed information on how to spot tree problems, how tree inspections are performed and how often they should be done.
To find an arborist in your area, there is a guide on PlanetGreen.com. Skyline Tree Service and Holt Family Tree Care both offer tree removal services in and around Brecksville, and Davey Tree Service has a list on its website of their locations that offer hazard tree inspections by trained arborists.
Knowing how to recognize a dangerous tree, or hiring a person to assess my trees might give me some peace of mind. I probably still won’t be able to sleep during a storm, but I'll never stop hugging trees. Even the hazardous ones.

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