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Most tree failures are preventable! "NOT ACTS OF GOD"

Trees that fail related to storm events are preventable in most cases and can be mitigated and "ARE NOT ACTS OF GOD"  Trees can be evaluated and a risk assessment can be done that would provide tree owners vital information So that owners the opportunity to reduce these issues, well before the event occurs.  Lets look at this case example:

October 31,2013 thunderstorm event with wind gusts were 56 mph maximum in Springfield Ohio with rain. Silver Maple Acer saccharinum had a complete "branch failure" event. So why did this happen and could this be prevented?

The tree had decay at its scaffolding limbs.  Trees and branch's that fail, for the most part are ones with pre-existing defects. This tree if it was visited prior to failure would have provided a signs and clues of decay like a swollen root flare.  This tree also would have "Sounded" hollow by tapping the trees trunk with a rubber mallet, which would have been a "Red Flag" to do a further investigation of what kind of rot or decay.

Over time, trees swaying in the wind develop extra strength to withstand directional forces. If conditions are consistent, trees will initiate changes in their development to compensate for these loading patterns. They are biologically engineered to adjust to external loading, under normal conditions. This fiber strength can minimize the impact of external forces, unless they are excessive, such as during a storm. Typically, these loads come from wind.

In this case, this tree had a serious decay called "Brown Rot" which is quite aggressive rot that removes cellulose and hemicellulose which creates the trees load bearing capacity to a low load break strength.  

The general rule is that stems can bear loads as along as the that stem  

"remaining sound wood thickness surrounding the internal cavity is more than 1/6” the trunk diameter or 1/3 the radius, then the tree is consider not likely to fail under normal conditions”

In this case, the tree loss could have been horrific loss of life and was totally preventable.  A qualified "Certified Arborist" with the "TRAQ"(Tree Risk Assessment Qualification)  knows to look for "Indicators" of potential failure.  These indicators can in some cases be mitigated or adjust the likelihood of failure.

Healthy trees under normal dynamic loading like 56 mph are perfectible capable of dealing with weather events like this. 

A healthy tree is the best defense to any challenge the tree may face in its lifetime. Appropriate watering and fertilization improves root growth and structure, making the tree more 

One key to dealing with the challenges of storm damage is to consult a qualified tree service. Finding a qualified tree care professional is important protection for the property owner. Sometimes less credible companies follow storms to take advantage of a bad situation. Knowing how to hire a reputable arborist can protect a property owner from being victimized. 

A professionally trained arborist can determine if a tree can be saved. Even if the tree must be removed, safety and training are needed to prevent additional damage or injury from the removal. 
An International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist can help save a tree or improve the risk situations that follow storms. 

Also, choosing an accredited company brings the highest level of standards for client satisfaction and safety.

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Comment by Fred Labs on November 2, 2013 at 6:41am

Go to to find an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist.

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