How to Keep Your Home from Being Crushed by a Tree

Posted April 28th, 2010
by HomeownersInsurance.org Staff (no comments)

Having trees in your yard gives you fresher air to breathe, brightens up the yard, and can even help protect your yard and home from windstorms. Still, When a tree grows so big that it could land on your house, garage or car if it fell, it’s time to take stock and decide whether that tree is healthy – or whether it’s about to become a hazard.

Here are some things you need to keep in mind when evaluating the trees in your yard:

  • A well-trained landscaper or arborist is you best resource. If you really want to know whether a tree is in danger of falling and causing damage, you need to rely on an expert. If you’re in doubt after going through the rest of this list, call up a professional and set up a time that they can come out and inspect the tree.
  • Look for signs of weakness. Specifically, you’re looking for things like signs of branch dieback, or injury to the tree or branches. You should also look to see if branches seem to be growing together, which will form a narrow angle. This will make it so that weak bark will protrude up out of where the branches join. This creates what’s known as a “nose” on the tree, and it isn’t a good thing.
  • Look at the groundwork around the tree. Groundwork can damage a tree. Whether it’s a new patio or remodeling that you’ve done in the past few years, be aware that there could be damage to the roots. Roots are, for the most part, within the top 12 inches of the soil. If you dug down eight inches to pave your sidewalk, you probably had to interfere with the roots.
  • Identify potential targets. A tree isn’t a hazard unless there’s a target of some sort for it to fall on. If a tree isn’t near your house, where you park your car, or important landscaping, then there probably isn’t too much of a reason to spend a long time looking at it.

What you don’t want to do is neglect it entirely. If there’s real danger that a tree is going to fall, you need to deal with it before it becomes a problem. The last thing you want to do is explain to your homeowners insurance agent how you “almost” cut that tree down six months before it destroyed your home.

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