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How Safe Is Your Tree?

150-year-old Blue Oak tree appears to be healthy, above, but a closer look with the photo on the right reveals it was actually rotting away inside.

How Safe Is Your Tree?

M ost people never even consider whether or not that large tree in their yard is safe as long as they can see green leaves on it. But if you have a tree that looms over your house, street or neighbor’s yard you might want to consider these facts.

The pictures above show a 150-year-old mature Blue Oak tree that appears to be vigorous but the truth is that the tree had been rotting away on the inside for decades and there was nothing that anyone could see from the outside that would indicate the tree was in such bad shape. The picture showing the hollowed out trunk is the actual trunk from the same tree and provides a frightening case study in how important it is to have large trees periodically inspected by an arborist who is qualified in “Risk Assessment,” which is the process of determining whether a tree is safe or not.

It’s such a specialty that the International Society of Arboriculture has recently endorsed a special certification for arborists who are qualified to examine such trees. The process begins with a visual inspection by a certified arborist whose trained eye assesses the tree for several key criteria ranging from old wounds caused by broken or improperly pruned limbs, structural defects such as “included bark,” decay cavities and heavy lean and fruiting bodies such as conks, cankers and epicormic shoots. We also look for things like significant die back, loss of vigor and changes in soil elevation within the drip line. Once the initial inspection is complete the arborist will be able to determine whether the tree should be tested further. The most common procedure is to perform a drill test. The tree in the example above was both drill and radar tested. By utilizing this process it is possible to be quite certain of your tree’s condition before making a decision to remove it or not. While no one wants to remove a heritage tree from their yard sometimes it is necessary to prevent future damage or injury and sometimes having your trees examined brings about a peace of mind. Many times no further assessment is needed but the arborist may recommend several things ranging from “end weight reduction,” crown cleaning, bracing, deep root fertilizing, etc

Certified Arborist

2361 Manning St • Sacramento, CA 95815 (916) 927-5296 •

Lawn and Order, for all your landscape needs including:

  • Tree pruning and removal
  • Tree spraying & fertilization
  • Large tree replacement
  • Tree & landscape consultations
  • Landscape design/build