Trees fall over because their roots are not strong enough to withstand the force that is being applied to them above ground. The weakening of roots can be caused by different things, some of which may have visible symptoms that can indicate a potential risk.
Decay – Fungi can cause wood to weaken and decay, making it more vulnerable to falling over.
Past Injuries – Trees that have had previous injuries, due to storms or disease, may be prone to weak roots.
Structure – Tree height and shape are important factors to consider. Taller trees are more susceptible to falling over and irregular growth or split bases can also contribute to a greater risk.
Environment –Trees that have experienced drastic changes in climate or their surroundings may have weakened roots. Shallow soil, rocky soil or soil saturated with water can also increase the risk of a tree falling.
A tree’s environment is perhaps one of the largest factors in determining if it is at risk for toppling. For example, trees that were once in forest, but that now are free standing, could be at a greater risk of falling over because they’ve lost the protection of surrounding trees. They may not be able to withstand the pressures of wind and rain from which they were previous safeguarded. Significant changes in soil, due to construction or climate, can also directly affect the roots’ strength.
Worth noting is that all trees have the potential to fall over if enough force is applied, so it’s important to monitor trees for any visible symptoms and have them inspected by a professional to determine a tree’s risk for toppling.
Please contact us if you have a tree in question and need a professional recommendation.