Large trees in your yard shade and beauty. But if a tree is unhealthy, it can also threaten the safety of your property. To determine whether your tree is dangerous, you should inspect four aspects of the tree: the overall tree, the ground around it, the trunk and the canopy. Damage in any of these areas can mean the tree can fall, damaging your home or causing injury.
The overall tree
Get to a place in your yard where you can see the entire tree at once. Check whether the tree is leaning heavily in one direction. This isn't necessarily an indicator of damage if the tree has grown that way. However, if you notice a tree leaning that wasn't leaning previously, it can be an indicator of damage. Inspect the tree for large spaces that are devoid of leaves or limbs that are drooping, as well.
Inspect the ground around the tree to determine the health of the roots. If the roots show signs of damage or decay, the tree is likely in trouble. Fungal growth on the roots or base of the tree is a key indicator of dead wood. If you see prolific fungal growth, the tree is dangerous.
If you see cracked or raised soil, it may indicate that the tree is uprooting. If you see sawdust, it may mean insects are attacking the tree. Both are signs of a potentially dangerous tree.
Signs of a diseased trunk include missing bark or bark that's falling off.
The trunk of a tree may have cracks or cavities. It doesn't necessarily make the tree dangerous, but a large or pervasive crack or cavity may mean you need to consider tree removal.
If a tree has multiple trunks, be especially vigilant when inspecting the joining point. If the joining point is in a tight V-shape, it may indicate weakness. A U-shape indicates a strong joint.
The canopy of the tree should be inspected from below for dead limbs. Deciduous tree limbs missing leaves or evergreen limbs with brown or missing needles are likely dead. Inspect for broken branches, as well, particularly after a storm.
The cost of tree removal can range from $100 to $1,000. If you find indicators that your tree is dangerous, contact an Atlanta-area landscaping professional to inspect your tree and determine whether intervention or tree removal is necessary.