Northfield Township Tim Rueckert
ROAD DISTRICT Highway Commissioner

Decay and Cracks Cause Hazards in Trees

Tree failure is a major cause of residential property damage, as well as the leading cause of power outages nationwide. An ice storm can overload all the branches on a tree, a tornado or high wind can blow down a tree if its roots are restricted, or a cracked tree can fail under its own weight.

Trees are designed to withstand storms, but all trees can fail – and defective trees fail sooner than healthy trees. A sound tree becomes potentially dangerous when the tree’s woody structure is weakened by one or more defects. During storms, pre-existing defects predispose trees to failure.

Healthy, well-maintained trees growing on suitable sites will be able to minimize the extent of defects. Trees that are stressed have reduced energy reserves, and therefore, have less ability to deal with wounds and the ensuing decay.

Advanced decay, cracks and cavities result in less structural strength and reduced stability. Indicators of advanced decay are rotten wood, fungal bodies, cavities, holes, open cracks or bulges in the wood. Decayed wood is the result of the long-term interaction between a tree and decay-causing fungi. Wood decay is an internal process with just a few external indications, such as mushrooms, conks, rotten or punky wood, cavities, hollows, holes, inrolled cracks, and bulges in the wood.

If you are worried about trees falling and damaging property you should call a professional arborist in for a visual inspection.