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When your car starts making a funny noise or it has been 10,000 kms since your last service you know it’s time to see the mechanic. If your computer is slow or won’t start you know it’s time to go to the technician. But what about your trees? How do you know when they need help? What do I need to look for as a tree owner to know that tree care is required?
This blog is for anyone wanting to know how to decide if it’s time to call an Arborist.
To the untrained eye trees can seem static, silent and unchanging. In reality, this could not be further from the truth. Trees are in a constant change of flux and as a result give away clues as to their well being. These clues can sometimes be subtle, such as slight changes in foliage colour or ripples in the bark.
However, if you know what you are looking for you can detect them before they are not so subtle such as limbs or whole trees failing.
What is tree asset management and why does it matter?
Trees can provide many benefits for the urban environment in terms of improving air quality, visual impact and helping to stabilise temperatures. However, sometimes they can grow too large for the space available or develop certain defects. It may be necessary to prune trees for safety, to remove dead branches, to promote growth, to regulate size and shape or to improve the quality of flowers, fruit or timber. A recent blog we posted shares some insight to the management of your trees and might be a handy supplement to this blog.
Trees in need of care might send out an SOS for a number of reasons
For the purpose of simplicity with reference to tree care work, I will use three broad categories in this blog: health and safety for people/property, health and safety of the tree, they pose a nuisance factor.
Health and safety for people/property is centered on ensuring the tree or parts of the tree do not fail and cause damage to you, anyone else or your belongings. In extreme weather conditions even healthy trees can fail, however, a compromised tree can fail under much calmer conditions.
Signs that a tree may be compromised and need tree care include:
- Cracks in the soil surrounding the tree, or movement at the roots of the tree
- Fungal fruiting bodies (mushrooms) on or near the tree
- Cracks in the bark or wood of the tree
- Loose or peeling bark
- Dead or diseased branches, or the entire tree is dead
- Less leaves than normal, or the leaves are a different colour
- Broken or hanging branches
Tree health and safety 101: What to look out for when checking your trees
Health and safety of the tree is concerned with taking measures to encourage the useful longevity of the tree by preventing the development of faults or dysfunction. It is about identifying hazards or potential hazards early so they do not develop into major flaws that require the tree to be removed or disfigured.
There is some crossover here with the above list but additional signs to look for could be:
- Overly heavy or extended limbs
- Heavily unbalanced canopies
- Strong leans of the trunk
- Very dense canopies
- Changes in protection from other trees or buildings
- Changes in land use around the tree, excavations, building etc.
When do trees become a nuisance?
Nuisance factors are when the tree is not necessarily a health and safety risk but it is posing some other problem such as rubbing on a building, restricting a view, restricting access, close to power lines etc.
Signs to look out for here are:
- Proximity to buildings or other structures
- Low hanging branches
- Proximity to power or phone lines
- Overly shaded or damp gardens or areas around trees
- Cracks/lifting in pavements, patios or driveways
- Blocked gutters or drains
If you notice any of the above signs associated with your trees it could be time to call an Arborist and have them look at your situation. It can also be prudent to have your trees assessed following any major storm or significant weather event.
Auckland City Council also provide useful insight regarding whether you can work on your trees or if there are any consent concerns you need to take into account. Reference their web page here if you are considering work: https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/building-and-consents/working-on-around-trees/Pages/default.aspx
If you own multiple trees or have older trees it can be a good idea to have your trees inspected by a professional on a regular basis. This way a record can be kept and the overall health and condition of the trees monitored more accurately. If you believe your trees need to be assessed by a specialist and might require tree care, call us anytime. We’d be happy to support and help to answer your questions.