So how do you identify that a tree is risky to have on your property and that it could lose a branch or fall over on any given day?
- First, look at the tree from a distance and try to see if it is leaning over in any specific direction. Of course, some trees lean naturally however, a professional tree care person would be able to tell you if a tree has been leaning over for years and is safe or if it has just recently started leaning over. If your tree is leaning over suddenly, it may well be a sign that the tree is in fact dead or decaying and may soon fall.
- Second, when standing at the base of the tree, look down at the ground surrounding that tree. The roots of the tree can tell you a lot about the state or health of that tree. For example, if you can see the roots lifting from the soil and they are damaged, it means that structural support has been lost resulting in an unstable tree. If you look at the base of tree where the trunk meets the ground and you see a slight spacing between the ground and the tree, it could also mean that the tree is leaning and could be unstable from a structural point of view. If you notice any specific fungal growth on the tree, contact a professional to check if such sawdust or fungus has in fact infected the entire tree.
- Third, look closely at the trunk of the tree. Here, you will be looking for cavities or cracks that show the tree is unstable. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the tree has to be removed, however it is advisable to get a tree to be examined extensively should there be any cavities. Generally, the tree is only removed if the cavities have become too big for the tree to be able to sustain them. Tree trunks are often a good place to start for inspection as you are able to check for rotting or infestation easily.
- If you are calling in a professional tree care staff member, they may also undergo a canopy inspection, where the professional arborist looks for dead branches on the tree that are often very difficult to spot. Should they find such branches, it is imperative to have them removed as such branches can fall at any given time and could be hazardous.
Once your tree inspection has been done, it is important to note what type of equipment will be needed to use in your garden that is safe and helps with aiding with the correct technique when caring for trees. All tools should always be in very good condition and should always be tested prior to using them.
Should you desire to cut a mature tree on your property, you would need the following equipment:
- Safety Glasses. Glasses are possibly the most important piece of equipment that is commonly overlooked by many. However, they are designed to keep you from having flying debris in your eyes which could cause fatal injury should you be using equipment like chainsaws.
- Safety Boots. This aids you when you are climbing the tree if necessary as well as if you ever have the chainsaw falling close to you. Safety boots will also prevent any cuts or damages to your legs and they should always be knee-high.
- Test Rope. This rope is often used as a backup safety feature should something go wrong whilst cutting the tree. It is advisable that this rope is three times the length of the tree.
- Chainsaw. This is the main piece of equipment required but it is also the one piece that should be treated with the utmost care. Chainsaws are very dangerous and should always be set at the correct bar size as well as with adequate horsepower (roughly 3.5 horsepower). The common size for the bar is twenty inches, an adequate depth at which the saw’s blade can penetrate.
Now that you have the adequate equipment to have a tree removed, it is imperative to know other aspects of tree care such as tree maintenance. This includes elements such as:
Pruning has many benefits and helps with keeping your trees healthy and happy for as long as possible. By this, it is important to note that pruning helps with tree growth and structure. When tree branches are pruned, they reconfigure the structure and posture of the tree, assisting with less leaning and more balanced branches from a good and solid weight distribution. Proper pruning can even assist with aesthetics if it is pruned in a certain way over time.
Pruning is best in late fall going into winter. This is the most dormant season and it is the time where trees are least vulnerable to harm as a result of pruning. This occurs as tree branches being cut will cause damage to a tree, much like any other living creature. In their dormant stage, they have less sap that is lost and fungus is less likely to further damage the tree. Certain tree species should be treated a little differently and it is advisable to contact a tree care company regarding this if you are unsure of your tree.
Pruning is the best way to maintain a safe, healthy and aesthetically pleasing tree in your home. However, it is advised that depending on the location and size of your tree, it may be best to contact a professional California Treecare staff member to assist with this type of maintenance.
If you have ever heard of topping, it is strongly advised that this type of tree care is only done as a last resort. In topping the height of a tree is drastically reduced by either removing large limbs or chopping the main trunk at a specific height. This often occurs in the harvesting industry and is not always advised for residential trees.
The topping is often seen as a quicker and easier method to keeping trees in a good shape without having to constantly maintain them. This is false and it should be known that topping is often not so much a means of reducing fallen leaves but it can also do harm to the tree. Topping may reduce the amount of leaves you have to deal with however this is only for a short period of time. Once a tree is topped, new shoots grow and rather quickly, bringing you back to square one of having many leaves to pick up. Some also say that topping reduces the risk of having a leaning tree. This is also not true as topping can actually increase the risk of a falling tree as the tree is susceptible to an unbalanced weight after being topped which results in a quicker collapse. Should you feel that your tree need to be topped it is imperative to contact a professional to be sure before taking any further action.
At California Treecare we believe in looking at the safety of you, your family as well as your home and the tree itself. There are many tree removal risks that are rather common. Some of these include:
- Unsuitable equipment. This refers to not only the equipment that is used to remove trees but also the supporting protective gear that is won by the people undergoing such a task. This gear should be professional and used in the correct manner at all times. Tree care professionals are trained and well equipped with using such gear which includes elements such as wood chippers, ropes, saws and cranes, all used to fell and dispose of trees safely. Without such gear as a homeowner, it is risky to fell a tree and can cause damage as a result.
- Power lines. This often occurs on residential property as usually there are power lines running very close to trees. Working within close proximity to such lines are rather risky and one should always assume that these power lines are live. If the tree, tools or the person felling the tree accidentally hits the power line, this could result in a power cut in your neighborhood. The other unfortunate circumstance is the possibility of you or the person felling the tree being electrocuted. It is also important to remember that the black lining on the power lines are not necessarily insulation covers, instead they are built and put on as purely a weather-proofing mechanism. This means that it is still possible to be harmed by a power line.
- Wood that is decaying. This refers to wood that may be from a dying or dead tree that decays from the inside out in many cases. This makes the wood extremely unstable and unpredictable. Professional tree care staff often have to use tools like cranes to have decaying or dead wood removed to be safe. We suggest that if you think your tree is decaying it would be best to source a professional who will be able to assist you in removing the tree prior to it collapsing suddenly. Professionals will also be more than happy to assist with advising on deadwood and the biological explanation of it as well as how best to get rid of it in a safe manner.
- Trees are large structures and to this point, should be dealt with in a careful manner. When a tree begins to fall, there is very little control that you have over it and more importantly, where it will fall. Sometimes trees fall further than you think they would and other times, much closer which could be a serious hazard to your property. Often ropes or indentations are used to try to manipulate the falling angle however this does not always occur as planned. It is best to check with a tree care professional prior to planning a tree fall.
Tree felling and maintenance should be done with the utmost care and should never be under estimated. If you are thinking about tree care, do not hesitate to call a professional for advice or help before you pick up your first tool.