Arborist offers warning signs of unsafe trees - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Arborist offers warning signs of unsafe trees

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Many trees that fell victim to storm winds were in trouble already, said an arborist, and there are signs that a tree may be in trouble. Many trees that fell victim to storm winds were in trouble already, said an arborist, and there are signs that a tree may be in trouble.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

As trees around the area topple due to one storm after another, arborist Wayne Coshatt with Tree Techs has been busy cleaning up the mess. He said many of those trees were in trouble already.

"Most of the time, people don't know what to look for," Coshatt said. "Either the trees have some sort of defect or decay, and the storms are just taking care of the weak."

The arborist said it is possible to see the warning signs. Some area tree experts said they've received calls from homeowners concerned they have trees about to drop, and the relentless wet weather is increasing the danger.

"The roots will just lose their purchase and healthy trees will fall over if it gets too wet. The ground's saturated; get some wind, and the whole root ball will pull up," explained Coshatt.

Coshatt said you should watch for signs of instability such as trees with dual trunks, hollows, or mushrooms around their bases, which can be a sign of underground rot. Sometimes, he said a healthy looking tree will simply tip when the ground can't hold it.

"You'll start to see the tree leaning a little bit," he said. "You can see a little hump starting to pull out of the ground, and you'll see cracks. That shows that the tree is heaving and it will eventually fall over."

Coshatt said some of what we're seeing is trees that can't handle stress - like road construction, sidewalks or new subdivisions. Ironically, he said dead trees can sometimes be less of a threat than live ones because all those leaves are more likely to catch the wind in storms.

Closely monitoring your trees is the easiest way to prevent them from becoming too weak to survive the next gust of wind. Coshatt suggested keeping a vigilant eye on the health of your trees, from trunk to limb - and whenever in doubt, have a professional check it out.

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