Identifying Tree Risk

If you have trees on your property, then you probably are going to want to get your trees assessed for tree risk. Tree risk is probability times consequence or rather the probability that something could happen with a tree and the consequences of the tree falling.

To get an assessment done for the trees on your property you should retain an arborist. The arborist will assess the trees on your property through a three level assessment. The first level will be a simple drive by for the arborist to assess how many trees you have. After that the assessment they will move on to a three hundred sixty degree observation of every tree in your yard. They will investigate to see if there are any defects in your tree. After this they move on to investigating into each of the possible defects they see.

After the arborist finishes their investigation they will give you a report. The report should include a recommendation. Typically on a tree by tree basis there are three options the arborist could recommend. These options include removing the tree, treating the tree, or treating the area around the tree to minimize risk. The options the arborist recommends and the options you choose could change based on what values you and your arborist have. One thing to consider is what will be damaged if your tree falls and can that item be moved. To assess this form a circle around the tree with a radius as tall as the height of the tree. If there are major buildings in the path of the tree, then you almost definitely want to look at either treating the tree or removing it. Treating the tree usually involves removing the defect, like a hanging branch. If you don’t have major buildings in the path of the tree you possibly could avoid removing the tree. It is important to remember that risk treatment is your responsibility not your arborists. All your arborist can do is ensure that you know that there is a problem with a tree in your car, you have to take action. If you do not take action and something happens to your property, then it is your fault.

It is important to balance the risks that come with having a tree in your yard with your other priorities. Reflect on your values and make a choice that matches your priorities, pick a risk level that you are comfortable with. You owe it to yourself and your property to spend time thinking about what level of risk is acceptable for your home. Balancing risk is something we do every day of our lives and thus it makes sense that we would have to balance risk in our yards.

Trees bring a great deal of risk with them and you need to hire an arborist to assess the risk in your yard. Once you have an assessment of the risk in your yard it is up to you to act on that risk and manage it.

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