Trees can make a lovely addition to your landscape, but they often come with their own set of risks. To ensure that your property is safe, regularly inspect your trees and mitigate risk factors, or hire a professional arborist to do so.
A formal risk assessment, performed by a trained arborist, is the best way to guarantee all of your bases are covered. The arborist will systematically evaluate your trees for risk, guided by the ANSI A300 standards, the generally accepted industry standards for tree care practices.
During the assessment, the arborist will look at your trees, identify defects, then judge how likely that defect is to cause tree failure.
There are three levels of tree risk assessment:
Level 1: The arborist will view the tree in question, whether in person or through photographs.
Level 2: This requires a 360 degree ground level observation of the tree or trees in question. During this phase, the arborist will examine the roots, trunk and crown to identify obvious structural defects.
Level 3: Building on the information from Level 2, the arborist will then perform advanced diagnostic procedures, which may include extracting samples for lab analysis.
This procedure, which is derived from ANSI A300 standards, is illustrated in the flowchart below:
When this is finished, you may be given a written or oral report detailing recommendations for mitigation of risk. Typically, homeowners have three ways to combat risk: removing the tree, treating the tree, or treating the site. More than one option may be used if the situation calls for it.
Remember, risk assessment may be the responsibility of the arborist, but risk treatment is ultimately the responsibility of the homeowner. Make sure to follow up with solutions recommended by your arborist, and continue to monitor your trees for future defects. Even if your tree appears safe, it’s always best to verify this, especially if it is overhanging valuable property.
If you need help evaluating your trees for risk, click here to search for a tree care company in your ZIP code.