As defined on an Internet site for tree care, a “Hazard Tree” is a tree that poses a level of risk to people or property that exceeds the risk tolerance of the property owner.”

These hazard trees have structural defects such as extensive internal decay, large cankered areas, rotting bases or rotting roots, seams and cracks in the main trunk and dead branches in the canopy. A 2007 article in Northern Gardener Magazine by Katharine Widen, plant pathologist, explains further why property owners must be watchful of these signs and the potential for a tree to become a hazard.

Determining whether an old or injured tree poses a potential hazard that may put people and property at risk, may require close examination by a professional. This area has recently experienced several wind events along with heavy rains that could eventually cause a decaying or dead tree to either completely fall or loose large branches. All those at risk trees should be closely examined every year and especially after a major storm that includes lightening and high winds. Check for open cracks, soft or missing wood, decay in the tree crotch area and any heaving of the base.

Any construction that requires digging in the ground near trees can potentially cause root damage that may not be apparent until there is a major storm or you start seeing dieback on the tree. And always plant trees in the right place the right way. Never plant under power lines, too near a structure, and never plant too deep. The root flare should always to above ground level so that the tree trunk doesn’t look like a utility pole ... straight out of the ground. Planting the tree too deep can cause the roots to girdle and damage the trunk base which can snap right over during a strong wind.

Give trees lots of room to grow where they won’t become a hazard thus posing to risk to people and property.

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