In this WUSA9 article, Lou Meyer, business developer for Davey's mid-Atlantic region discusses factors that could cause a tree to fall.

Posted: April 16, 2024

It's something that can catch homeowners off guard.  Trees that once stood tall, end up on someone's home.  But what does it really take to make a tree fall?  WUSA9 Turned to certified arborist Lou Meyer with Davey Tree for answers.   

 " A tree is in danger of falling based on a few different items, one is exposure to the elements, so mainly wind and condition of the tree," Meyer said. 

Meyer walked around a park in Montgomery County  and found a several trees that caught his attention.  He said rot and decay make a tree more vulnerable to falling because it's in a weaker state. 

 "See this big chunk missing there? That's inner decay," Meyer pointed out on a tulip poplar tree.  "When you have pockets of decay 15 to 20 feet up that doesn't have excess growth, that's where a tree pops." 

Trees with co-dominant stems should make a U shape as they branch out Meyer said.    If those trees make a V shape, they should be monitored.  

"When you see a tight V like this, and you see the bulge this is the tree trying to outgrow the decay and not doing it very successfully," Meyer said.  "Instead of the root ground where that tree is supposed to take the pressure, it's catching it here.  When you've got this juncture here, this V,  and they're blowing around all that pressure is right here and if there's a pocket of decay, that's where you see trees split," Meyer explained.    

He said not every tree with a V shape needs to be cut, but it should be inspected.     

Trees with diseases are also vulnerable.  He spotted a tree full of healthy leaves but with rotting branches. 

"There's a lot of dead limbs up on the crown of this .  Hard to see from the ground but there's a disease called hypoxylon canker, it's a fungal vascular disease,"  Meyer explained.  

The canker may appear as a dead spot on the tree.  You may notice missing bark.  The disease disrupts the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients from the leaves to the roots, and the tree dries out and becomes weaker.  Branches and limbs can fall easily in storms. 

To read more about these factors, click here.

The Davey Tree Expert Company provides research-driven tree services, grounds maintenance and environmental and utility infrastructure consulting for residential, utility, commercial and environmental partners in the U.S. and Canada. Established in 1880 and headquartered in Kent, Ohio, Davey has over 12,000 employees and is the ninth largest employee-owned company in the U.S. This year, Davey celebrates 45 years of employee ownership – Join us and apply today! 

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