Many homeowners are keen to figure out the reasons behind and the timing of a tree’s sudden collapse. This inquiry turns even more perplexing when considering why certain trees withstand the storms whereas others do not.

While aging and external factors such as strong winds and hurricanes play a significant role in affecting their strength, there are often more reasons than meets the eye.

Here’s a quick look at some of the key things you should know.

Why do trees fall

A few of the most common reasons why your tree is falling include:

  • Soggy soils

Since most roots are only 18 – 24 inches1 below the ground, an overload of rain followed by a strong wind can easily uproot the tree.

  • Weak or damaged root systems

Tree root systems can be easily damaged from construction or landscape installations too deep into the soil. Younger trees may also have shallow or weak, underdeveloped roots, which makes them more susceptible to falling over.

  • Decay and insect infestation

Insect infestations2, including fungi that cause tree decay, damage the internal tissues and wood of the tree. This reduces its structural stability, and after some time, the tree may fall.

  • Construction damage

Any construction on your property also affects the trees nearby. Activities like putting up your driveway or digging utility lines near the trees damage the shallow roots and may even starve them. As a result, the trees become destabilized and thus may easily fall.

  • Additional factors

Other factors that may cause the tree to fall include:

  • Flooding
  • Malnutrition
  • Improper planting conditions
  • Weak branch unions
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Signs that indicate that your tree may fall

While it’s impossible to predict precisely when a tree may tumble down, there are some signs that could inform you when it’s more likely to happen. Some common signs to look for include:

Sign 1: Several dead branches

This is probably the easiest sign to spot. You can know a dead branch by simply plucking a small branch and checking the interiors. If it’s dark-toned, part or the whole of that tree may be rotting.

To be safe, hire a tree surgeon to look at it, as it could come down at any time.

Sign 2: Excessive leaning

Any tree leaning at an angle greater than 15 degrees may indicate root or wind damage. Moreover, trees that lean facing East are also more likely to fall since the wind blows from the west.

In such a case, it may need immediate removal to avoid any damage when it falls. Keep in mind, trees that naturally grow leaning to one side may not be dangerous.

Sign 3: Hollow spots in the trunk

A hole in the trunk of a tree usually indicates signs of decaying as a result of poor pruning practices. While this may not always mean that the tree is falling, large hollows may result in tree instability that can cause it to fall.

However, if there’s adequate solid wood around the trunk, the tree may not tip over.

Sign 4: Patches of missing barks

If you notice some patches of missing barks, usually called cankers, that’s also a big sign that the tree is falling. There’s a high probability of the tree breaking at that point whenever there’s a high wind or storm.

Deep cracks on the trunk should also be a huge red flag as it indicates weakness.

Sign 5: Leaves falling close to the trunk

Leaves shouldn’t be falling closer to the tree’s trunk first. Trees in good condition should always shed the outer branch leaves first. In case you’ve noticed a lot of random shedding near the trunk, that could indicate a falling tree.

Sign 6: Fungi Growth on the roots

Fungi at the tree’s base are a key indicator of rotting and decaying roots. The widespread growth of the fungi shows the extent of this damage to the roots. Over time, the tree becomes too unstable, and a light wind, flooding, or hurricane can easily push it down.

Does the height affect trees’ falling?

Unfortunately, yes. Taller trees with canopies are more susceptible to falling than shorter trees. This is because for trees, the root and trunk act as the fulcrum whenever any force is applied by elements like wind, rain, or snow.

As such, the force applied to the roots increases with the height. Therefore, at some point, the force will be too much, and the tree will break and fall.

Shorter trees, on the other hand, don’t exert a lot of force on the roots making them withstand heavy winds and storms.

Does tree height effect tree falling
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