Deadfall can cause major damage to your property, including injury to anyone below the falling branch. Inadequate pruning can be a major cause of deadfall. To reduce risks, be aware of common issues that indicate tree trimming is needed.
1. Storm Damage
Always set aside a few minutes to visually inspect your trees the day following high winds or stormy weather. Look for cracked branches or broken branches that are hung up in the crown. These hazards need to be trimmed out and removed as soon as possible as they do pose an immediate deadfall risk. Even if a branch doesn't look large enough to be a major problem, it can damage nearby healthy wood when it does finally give way.
2. Weak Growth Patterns
Some branch growth patterns make them more prone to break and become deadfall. A commonly occurring example is when the branch joins the trunk at a wide angle that causes it to droop downward. Another example is two branches that are growing so closely that they rub together. Branches with weak growth habits should be removed during the annual late winter pruning.
3. Multiple Trunks
Trees with trunks that split into two or more upright leaders are at higher risk of causing a fall risk. The joining of the multiple trunks is a weak spot, especially if there isn't even weight distribution between them. It's not uncommon for the trunks to split, effectively dropping half the tree to the ground. Pruning young trees so they only develop one trunk is preferred. If you already have a multi-trunk tree, then careful annual trimming can avoid stress on the trunk joint.
4. Structure Damage
Overhanging branches can scrape against siding and roofs, or the branches may be tangled in overhead lines. Not only does this pose a danger to the house or from electrical wires, but it is also dangerous for the tree. Scraping and friction can damage or kill a branch, or cause it to break off more easily. Annual trimming is the time to make sure there are no overgrown branches.
5. Asymmetrical Crown
Ideally, the crown of a tree should be relatively symmetrical, with branches distributed evenly around the trunk so that the weight isn't concentrated on one side. Uneven weight distribution increases the chances of a trunk split or a larger branch splitting away from the trunk. Schedule a trim to thin out the denser side of the crown at any time of year.
Contact a tree trimming service if you have concerns about the trees in your landscaping.