Visually inspect the whole tree, including roots, root flare, trunk, and branches, keeping an eye out for:
- Large dead branches in the tree
- Narrow branch unions, especially with included bark (right photo)
Cables or ties cutting into the bark
Limbs over structures and parking areas (a.k.a. “targets”)
Mushrooms or fungus growing at the base of the tree
Double leaders (Removing the less vigorous or less upright leader allows the remaining one to regain dominance, minimizing risk of breakage.)
Any tree leaning excessively to one side
Also, think about the tree’s life story:
- Storms and lightening strikes may have damaged or killed parts of the tree.
- Mechanical damage from lawn mowers, string trimmers, and vehicles disrupts the tree’s circulatory system, and leaves wounds which invite infection.
- Careless construction or lawn installation may cut structural roots, compact soil, or leave trees too deeply buried (right), causing roots to smother and rot. Damage may not become obvious for three or more years after construction.
For a more details go to the following links:
- More deadwood than normal for a tree of its age (>10% for mature trees)
- Rot, holes, cracks, or fruiting bodies, including at roots and base of tree
- Developing a lean
- Evidence of disease on foliage, trunk or roots.