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Trees are resilient and, with their lifespans, can sometimes seem eternal and impervious to harm, but they have many vulnerabilities and potential downfalls. When something causes an irregularity it’s structural integrity, it can lead to a slow decline and eventual death for the tree. It’s better to determine these situations early to possibly counter the problem or at least remove the tree before it becomes a danger to someone or something.



Dead or Broken Limbs    broken

­If trees live long enough, eventually they develop a broken limb or branch. Broken limbs are the result of dead branches, wind and storm damage, or ice and snow damage in the winter months. No matter the cause, broken tree limbs require immediate removal to prevent them from falling and causing injury. In addition, pruning off the broken limb portions prevents future disease from occurring by sealing off the wound. –

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­Cankers     canker1  canker2

­Cankers are localized dead areas, which may appear on the branches, twigs, or trunk of a tree. They can be caused by mechanical damage (especially weed whips and lawn mowers), environmental conditions (frost cracks, sunscald etc.), chemical injury, insects, or microorganisms (fungi and bacteria). Cankers may appear sunken on young and thin­ barked trees or hidden on older thick­barked trees. On young or smooth­barked trees, the surface of the canker may appear discolored. Callus tissue formed around the canker may cause excessive enlargement of the stem, while some perennial cankers form a target­shaped lesion. The size of the canker can range from small inconspicuous lesions on branches to massive dead areas on the trunk.­

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­Heart Rot   heartrot1  heartrot2

­Heart rot is caused by fungi entering the trunk of the tree through wounds in the bark. These wounds are areas of the tree where bare wood is exposed and usually a result of improper pruning, fire damage, dead branches, insects or even animal damage. The fungal spores enter the exposed wounds, germinate within the wood tissues and slowly ingest the heartwood. The infection is a very slow process and can take from months to years, depending on conditions and tree health. An average fungus will grow 6–8 centimeters per year, and extensive development in the wood tissue is needed to produce mushrooms or conks.­

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­Root/Collar Rot   rootrot1

­Collar or crown rot is caused by a fungus that invades a tree’s lower trunk or upper roots and begins to block the tree’s vascular system. The infection point often develops as a canker which causes a girdling (strangulation) of the tree as it spreads. Crown rot and collar rot refer to the same disease, except they have different names depending on the location of the infection (on the root stock or the scion portion of the graft union). The most obvious symptom found on an infected tree is a partial or complete girdling of the trunk. The diseased tissue at first appears orange and reddish­brown, then becomes browner as the rot and decay advances. The disease spread is most prevalent in areas that have poor drainage or standing water.­

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­Binding   binding1 binding2

Root bound trees are simply plants that have grown too big for their containers. Healthy growth will cause a plant to develop a root system that is too big to be contained. Occasionally, a tree may be put into a container that is too small to begin with in order to make transport and planting easier. This will also cause the tree to become quickly root bound. It’s been known for rushed or incompetent landscapers to forget to remove the burlap root cover from new trees when planting. A tree whose roots are “bound” by some kind of barrier can appear under nourished or under watered and stunt their growth. Even plants growing outside in the ground can become root bound if their roots are caught between several solid barriers, like foundation walls, footers or pipes.­

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­Storm Damage   storm1  storm2

­Violent storms can wreak havoc on trees. Heavy snows, strong winds and flooding can all create significant injury at different points in tree development. Young trees can be uprooted or hopelessly broken. Older trees can become cracked or lose weak limbs. Water damage can infuse roots with salt or contaminants. Some storm damage of trees can be prevented with bracing, staking or other measures of support. A careful assessment of your landscape trees in advance of storm season can help prevent losses. –

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­Winter/Frost Damage    frost1 frost2

­Some species or cultivars of trees and shrubs are injured if temperatures fall below a minimum tolerance level. Frost cracks, sometimes called freeze cracks, appear as shallow to deep longitudinal cracks in the trunk of trees. They are most evident in winter at temperatures below 15oF. Frost cracks occur on the south or southwest sides of trees because this area experiences the greatest temperature fluctuations between day and night. A sudden drop in temperature causes the outer layer of wood to contract more rapidly than the inner layer, which results in a long vertical crack at weak points in the trunk. Once a freeze crack occurs on a tree, it is likely to appear annually. Trees most susceptible to frost cracks include London plane, oak, Norway and red maple, horsechestnut, crabapple, walnut, linden, and willow.­

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­Hazard Issues    hazard1 hazard2

­Trees provide significant benefits to our homes and cities, but when trees fall and injure people or damage property, they become liabilities. Taking care of tree hazards makes your property safer and prolongs the life of the tree. Trees or parts of trees may fall and cause injury to people or damage to property. We call trees in such situations hazardous, to signify the risk involved with their presence. While every tree has the potential to fall, only a small number actually hit something or someone. Trees can also grow to interfere with powerlines, buildings or fences causing issues and potential problems. It is your responsibility as a property owner to provide for the safety of trees on your property. Our tree hazard assessment service will identify hazardous trees and the risk they present. Once the hazard is recognized, steps may be taken to reduce the likelihood of the tree falling and injuring someone.­

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