How to Prevent Trees Falling on Your House

How to Prevent Trees Falling on Your House

If you’re lucky enough to have a yard, you know the value of a few sturdy trees. From providing cool shade in the summer to beautiful foliage in the fall, your trees enhance your yard. Unfortunately, along with all these great things, tree maintenance can also be a struggle.

One of the most significant tree issues that homeowners face is how to prevent trees from falling on your house. Luckily, we are here to help you determine if your trees are safe and what to do if they might pose a danger to your home.

What Types of Trees are in Your Yard in Alberta?

Here in Alberta, we are lucky enough to have many different trees in our yards and public spaces. While we can’t know exactly what type of trees you have without more information about your specific yard, we can tell you that most of us have the following species of trees on our property:

  • Tamarack Trees: These are tall and slender trees that have a straight trunk and needle-shaped leaves.
  • Laurel Leaf Willows: These fast-growing deciduous trees provide plentiful shade and are less likely to fall ill because of disease or pests.
  • Balsam Fir: These are less common, but you still might see these in your yard. They have flat, needle-like leaves and pinecones that ripen in September.
  • Manitoba Maples:  These hardy deciduous trees are beautiful and thrive in many conditions but can be vulnerable to wind damage and some tree diseases.
  • American Elm Trees: These deciduous trees are known for their beautiful yellow foliage in the fall, and you will find them along many of Alberta’s streets and parks.
  • Lodgepole Pine: These bent and twisted pines are commonly found in coastal areas and can grow up to 50 meters in height.
  • Beaked Hazelnut: More of a shrub, this flowering tree produced small red flowers and yellow catkins (spiked flowers) and are commonly found in Alberta’s forests.

The Dangers of a Falling Tree

It might seem obvious to say it, but a tree that falls in your yard can be dangerous to you or your property. A falling tree can pose these common risks (and more!):

  • Injuring people or pets
  • Damaging your home or other structures
  • Damaging other property, such as your vehicle or shed
  • Uprooting and causing damage to your yard or landscaping

In terms of trees falling, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (as the saying goes). It pays to put in the effort to stop your tree from falling to avoid dealing with a large amount of damage it could cause when it falls.

How to Prevent Trees From Falling on Your House

Luckily, there are things that you can do to prevent trees from falling on your house.

1. Regularly Inspect Your Trees for Signs of Damage

The most important thing you can do to prevent trees from falling on your property is regularly inspect them for signs of damage. Know these signs that your tree might be getting ready to topple over and look for them in your yard.

  • Dead, Falling Branches: If you can see many dead branches on your tree, especially if you notice them beginning to fall, your tree might be getting ready to topple.
  • Rotten Roots: If you notice that your tree’s roots show signs of rotting, this could mean the tree itself is in decay. Common symptoms of rotting wood are breaking easily, fungus growth, or a damp, musty odor.
  • Multiple Trunks: A tree with multiple trunks might be more likely to fall if the tree’s weight is distributed unevenly across the trunks. In this situation, you might notice cracks on one of the trunks.
  • Holes in the Tree Trunk: If you see a hole in the tree trunk, this could be a sign of tree decay and weakness in some trees. A hole in the tree is not always a sign of decay, but you should still look for this when you inspect your trees.
  • Shedding Leaves on Outer Branches: A tree losing leaves on its outer branches can be difficult for you to notice but is often a sign of root problems. You want to see your tree lose its leaves evenly, not from the outside branches before the inner ones.
  • Branches Growing in a Tight V-Shaped Fork: Ideally, your tree will grow its branches with enough room for them to develop fully without crashing into one another, usually in a U shape. If your tree’s branches are in a tight and crowded V, you might want to have your tree evaluated for danger.
  • Leaning Over 15 Degrees: If your tree leans more than 15 degrees, it might be unable to continue supporting itself.  A natural lean is okay, but a tilt of this severity with any exposed roots or cracked dirt around the tree can mean trouble for your yard.
  • Damage to the Bark: If your tree shows signs of damage to the bark, it could be rotting. Common symptoms of damage include chunks of bark missing or deep cracks in the surface.

2. Protect Your Trees From Construction Damage

Another way to prevent your trees from falling over is to protect them when you complete construction around your property. Even projects seemingly unrelated to your trees, such as building a driveway or road work down in the street, can impact your tree roots and pose a danger to you.

Before completing your own work, mark a large circle around your tree (we like an 8-foot radius), and be sure not to mess with any soil or dirt in the ring. This boundary will help you avoid damaging tree roots under the ground.

If you notice that your tree is looking a little worse for wear after a construction project, provide it with water, prune some of its heavier or damaged limbs, or consider installing bracing equipment to help it remain upright.

3. Avoid Planting Trees in High-Risk Lightening Zones

If your property has high points in the landscape, avoid planting single tall trees in this space. Doing so will make them a target for lightning. Sure, you could install an expensive lightning rod system to protect the tree, but we recommend just planting your tree somewhere else.

4. Hire an Arborist to Inspect Your Trees

If you notice signs of damage on your trees or feel uneasy about them for any reason, hire an arborist to examine your property. An arborist will tell you if your tree is safe and address any issues that they notice.

When in doubt, it is always best to get a free estimate for tree removal in Edmonton to determine if your trees are at risk of falling on your property. An arborist can help devise a mitigation plan to ensure that any potentially risky trees are appropriately handled and work with you to create a plan to manage your trees in the future.

5. Maintain Healthy Trees on Your Property

Once an arborist confirms that your trees are healthy, there are many ways that they can help you keep your trees thriving and unlikely to fall.

Consider pruning your trees, as directed by an arborist. Removing the heavier branches can take the weight off the trunk, allowing the tree to better support itself. In some scenarios, an arborist will recommend removing a second trunk or specific branches to enable the tree to flourish better.

In some scenarios, an arborist may recommend using cables or braces to minimize the risk of a tree falling on your home. These can support certain branches or make it more likely that falling branches or parts of a tree do not damage your home.

While many homeowners are tempted to DIY their tree maintenance, it is always best to consult with a professional when managing your trees. An arborist can help you devise a specific plan to keep the trees on your property thriving and make them less likely to fall on your home.

6. Remove Unhealthy Trees on Your Property

If an arborist determines that one or more trees are unhealthy and pose a severe risk of falling on your house, it is time to remove them. When it comes to removing trees, it is crucial to ensure that you take all steps to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

It is always best to consult a professional to remove your trees to avoid accidentally harming yourself, other people, or property. We recommend that you hire a professional to help you clear your tree safely and efficiently. A professional will also take care of the cleanup to ensure that there is no debris left behind in your yard.

After you remove your tree, many companies will also offer services to remove and grind the tree stump from your yard. Stump removal is a good idea because it can breed unwanted pests, such as termites or carpenter ants. They can also be an eyesore or inconvenience in your yard.

The Rundown on Preventing Trees from Falling on Your Home

You should now be well-equipped with knowledge on how to prevent trees from falling on your house. Trees are an excellent addition to any yard but require regular maintenance to stay healthy and safe. Be sure to inspect your trees for signs of damage regularly. If you are concerned about the health of your trees, contact an arborist to help address these issues and maintain your trees in the future.

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