- dead twigs, dead branches, or small, off-color leaves;
- species-specific defects. Some species of maple, ash and pear often form weak branch unions, while some other fast-growing species of maple, aspen, ailanthus and willow are weak-wooded and prone to breakage at a relatively young age;
- cankers, which are localized areas on branches or stems of a tree where the bark is sunken or missing. Cankers are caused by wounding or disease. The presence of a canker increases the chance that the stem will break near the canker. A tree with a canker that encompasses more than half of the tree's circumference may be hazardous even if the exposed wood appears healthy;
- hollowed trunks;
- Advanced decay (wood that is soft, punky or crumbly, or a cavity where the wood is missing) can create a serious hazard. Evidence of fungal activity, such as mushrooms, conks and brackets growing on root flares, stems or branches are indications of advanced decay. A tree usually decays from the inside out, eventually forming a cavity, but sound wood is also added to the outside of the tree as it grows. Trees with sound outer wood shells may be relatively safe, but this depends on the ratio of sound-to-decayed wood, and other defects that might be present;
- cracks, which are deep splits through the bark, extending into the wood of the tree. Cracks are very dangerous because they indicate that the tree is presently failing;
- V-shaped forks. Elm, oak, maple, yellow poplar and willow are especially prone to breakage at weak forks;
- The tree leans at more than 15 degrees from vertical. Generally, trees bent to this degree should be removed if they pose a danger. Trees that have grown in a leaning orientation are not as hazardous as trees that were originally straight but subsequently developed a lean due to wind or root damage. Large trees that have tipped in intense winds seldom recover. The general growth-form of the tree and any uplifted soil on the side of the tree opposite the lean provide clues as to when the lean developed.
Dead trees or those with structural defects, especially within the range of a house should be removed. If they are not removed, the small twigs will fall first, followed by the larger branches, and eventually the trunk. This process can take several years, but it is extremely dangerous to homes, families and children, and vehicles.
Contact your professional local tree service, like Trees "R" Us, Inc. for quality and safe tree removal on the North Shore, north suburbs, or northwest suburbs of Chicago.
The professionals at Trees "R" Us, Inc. can be reached at 847-913-9069, at www.treesrusinc.com or email me, the owner, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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