10 Signs Your Tree Is a Hazard to Your Home - Home & Texture
Outdoors Hazardous Tree Signs

10 Signs Your Tree Is a Hazard to Your Home (Plus What To Do About It)

It's time to do some yard damage control before things get out of hand.

June 13, 2024 at 9:26 AM PST
Outdoors Hazardous Tree Signs

10 Signs Your Tree Is a Hazard to Your Home (Plus What To Do About It)

It's time to do some yard damage control before things get out of hand.

June 13, 2024 at 9:26 AM PST

There’s nothing like a majestic tree in your yard to bring character, shade, and a bit of woodland vibes to your home. But sometimes, that towering oak or whispering pine can turn from a backyard beauty into a potential hazard, and the worst part is, you might not even realize it’s happening. The good news is that once you catch the issues, you can move quickly to take care of them. Here are a few signs your tree might cause problems for your home or yard.

Dead tree
Photo Credit: anntarazevich

1. Dead or Dying Branches

The last thing you want is to be in the middle of hosting a garden party or brunch, and suddenly, a branch decides to crash it. Literally. Dead or dying branches can be ticking time bombs, depending on their size and how close they are to other parts of your home. If you see branches that are brittle, leafless, or sprouting a collection of fungi, it might be time to take action. These branches could pose a risk of falling, plus they can indicate that your tree isn’t in the best health overall.

What To Do: Call in a professional arborist to assess the situation. They can trim the dead branches safely and give you advice on how to nurse your tree back to health.

2. Cracks in the Trunk

Your tree’s trunk is its backbone. If you notice significant cracks or splits, especially those that run deep, it’s a big red flag. These fissures can weaken the structural integrity of the tree, making it more likely to topple during a storm or heavy winds.

What To Do: Again, it’s time to dial up the tree doctor. An arborist can tell you if the tree can be saved or if it’s time for it to bid farewell.

3. Leaning Trees

A tree that suddenly leans to one side is not always a harmless sign. While a slight lean can be normal, a sudden or severe tilt often points to root damage or soil instability.

What To Do: Inspect the roots and soil around the base of the tree. If you notice exposed roots, soft soil, or any signs of decay, call in a professional. They might suggest staking the tree or, in worst-case scenarios, removal.

Pool in backyard
Photo Credit: Shvets Production

4. Root Damage

Roots are the unseen lifeline of your tree. If they’re compromised, the whole tree can suffer. Construction, landscaping changes, or even moles having a little too much fun can damage roots. Signs to watch out for include heaving soil, exposed roots, and areas of poor tree growth.

What To Do: Protect the roots by avoiding heavy equipment near the tree, and keep an eye on any landscaping projects. If you suspect root damage, an arborist can recommend the best course of action.

5. Fungal Growth

Fungi are great in risotto, but not so much on your tree. Mushrooms or other fungal growth at the base or on the trunk can indicate internal rot or a decaying root system. This is your tree’s way of waving a white flag.

What To Do: Don’t ignore this sign. An arborist can assess the extent of the damage and decide whether treatment or removal is necessary.

6. Cavities or Hollow Trunks

A tree with a hollow trunk might be a great hideout for birds or squirrels, but it can also pose a threat. Cavities can weaken the tree’s structure, making it prone to falling during adverse weather conditions.

What To Do: Smaller cavities might be manageable, but larger ones require professional evaluation. They’ll check the extent of the hollowing and suggest if the tree needs reinforcement or removal.

7. Proximity to Structures

Trees growing too close to your home, garage, or other structures can become a problem. Roots can damage foundations, while branches can wreak havoc on roofs, windows, and power lines.

What To Do: Regular pruning can keep branches in check, but for larger trees or those very close to structures, consult with an arborist. They can help you decide if the tree needs to be moved, trimmed, or, in some cases, removed.

Hammock chair
Photo Credit: Subham Majumder

8. Pest Infestation

Insects like beetles, ants, and termites can make a feast of your tree, compromising its health. Signs of infestation include holes in the bark, sawdust-like residue, and unusual activity of pests around the tree.

What To Do: Identify the pests and use appropriate treatments. In severe cases, you might need a pest control expert along with your trusty arborist to save the tree.

9. Sudden Loss of Leaves

If your tree suddenly goes bald in the middle of summer, it’s likely crying out for help. Stress from drought, disease, or root damage can cause premature leaf drop.

What To Do: Water your tree regularly, especially during dry spells. Mulching can help retain moisture. If leaf loss persists, consult an arborist to diagnose the underlying issue.

10. Tree Location and Weather Patterns

Finally, consider where your tree is located and the local weather. Trees in exposed areas are more susceptible to wind damage. Similarly, heavy snow or ice can cause branches to break.

What To Do: Regularly inspect your tree, especially after extreme weather. Prune as needed and make sure your tree is well-anchored and healthy.



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