Importance of Tree Risk Assessment

With spring around the corner, many of us are working on our garden plans deciding on what plants we would like to add and which ones if any we would like to remove. Oftentimes, we focus our garden efforts on plants and landscapes that are at eye or ground level. Our shrubs, annuals, perennials, and grass get most of our attention and care. We do not always realize the importance of our trees above and the impact they can have on the rest of our outdoor space. An unhealthy tree can be more than a fall hazard. It is important to know the current state of your trees, what care they need, and how to properly care for them.

What is a Tree Risk Assessment?

As trees age, they become more vulnerable to harmful insect infestations, diseases and blights, dying limbs, rot, and other health and risk factors. Even a seemingly healthy-looking tree could be moments away from falling onto your home or business, vehicle, or other valuable areas on your property. A tree risk assessment is the systematic process used to identify, analyze, and evaluate tree risk.

Tree Risk Assessment Factors

  • Tree Species

There are some tree species that are known for being shallow-rooted and more likely to blow over in high winds. The type of tree is a very important factor to take into consideration when evaluating the overall risk of the tree. 

  • Crown Density 

A healthy tree has a thick full crown, if the crown is thinning and showing “crown die-back” we know that the tree is struggling. 

  • Trees History 

If your tree has had previous branch failures or pests, this should also be considered in the evaluation of the overall health and risk potential of the tree. 

  • Overall Tree Appearance

Your tree’s overall health can also be seen by looking at the canopy density, leaf coloring, and bark condition. Certified arborists are also able to look at the amount of deadwood currently in the tree and the way old pruning wounds have healed themselves.

  • Fall Targets

When evaluating the risk level of your trees, you also need to consider what objects are surrounding the tree. Who or what would be injured if the tree fell? If the tree is not at risk for causing any personal injury or property damage, then the tree may not need to come down. If it is not too far gone, there may be remedial measures to take to try to save the tree. 

Why Would I Need a Tree Risk Assessment?

An evaluation of the trees on your property can help you see which trees, if any, need to be removed. You can also get a quote for that removal onsite from tree removal professionals. Attempting to remove trees on your own can be very dangerous and cost you more money in the long run. 

Arborists do their best to salvage and improve the health of your trees. Sometimes the condition of your tree may be too severe making it a fall hazard. In these circumstances, removing your tree is the safest choice. You may also decide to have trees removed due to concerns over root damage. Trees may have been planted without consideration of underground pipes, too close to the house, or without realization of their potential full-grown size. 

Trees to Consider Removing

  • Trees Threatening Plant Life
      • Infected, diseased, or damaged trees can put surrounding plant life at risk. Infected trees can spread the diseases and pests they have to other trees, causing a wider problem for a site with many trees.
      • Root systems can overtake other types of plants as well. Root systems will compete for water and nutrients, which may cause all plants in the area, including the tree, to die.
  • Trees Interfering with Landscaping Plans
        • Performing a tree risk assessment before your landscaping project will help to paint a clearer picture of expected expenses. You will want to factor in the cost of tree removals, planting new trees, and ongoing tree maintenance.

    When to do a Tree Risk Assessment

    Tree risk assessments should always be done after a big storm or natural disaster to determine if the tree is still sound. You should also have your trees evaluated on a regular basis. Regular checkups can help with risk management and protect their health and appearance. Certified arborists can advise you on how to better maintain the health of your trees in general and how to reduce risk before an accident occurs. Preventative measures include: pruning to reduce wind resistance, applying fungicides to treat infections before they become serious, using fertilizer, installing lightning protection, and even choosing which trees to plant in the first place.

    What to Look for in a Tree Service Company 

    A professional tree service company will hire certified arborists that are knowledgeable about a variety of tree species and tree care. Reading reviews and properly vetting a service company before you hire them for any yard work is always recommended. There are a few different professional arborist qualities you should look for when hiring a tree service company. 

    Professional Arborist Qualities

      • Employ ISA-Certified Arborists®Look for an arborist who has a membership with professional organizations, such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This membership requires the arborists to demonstrate a commitment to quality and keep up with current best practices on trees and tree care. 
      • Are Fully InsuredCheck and obtain proof of insurance and licenses from the tree service provider you plan to work with. The license should confirm registration while in compliance with the state requirements.
      • Have a Passion for the Health of My Trees
      • Focus on the Safety of Their Crews & the Community
      • Layout a Clear PlanThe plan should detail the safe removal and maintenance of your trees. It should also be in line with your expectations and needs for your outdoor space. 

    Blackhawk’s team includes ISA-certified specialists who have been studying trees for decades. That means we have the knowledge and expertise needed to assess the health and safety of any type of tree in our area. If you have a tree that you are concerned about or a tree you’d like to have cut down, our team will provide a free tree service estimate for you.