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Arborist Corner

Tree Risk Checklist

Trees provide us with shade, food, beauty and add value to our homes and public places. But, if a tree is injured or damaged it can be a safety risk to people or property.

Homeowners should inspect the trees on their property several times a year for signs of problems. But, are you wondering what to look for?

Here is a checklist of warning signs that your trees need a professional’s care from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) website:

  1. Are there large, dead branches in the tree?
  2. Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?
  3. Does the tree have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?
  4. Are mushrooms present at the base of the tree?
  5. Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?
  6. Have any branches fallen from the tree?
  7. Have adjacent trees fallen over or died?
  8. Has the trunk developed a strong lean?
  9. Do many of the major branches arise from one point on the trunk?
  10. Have the roots been broken off, injured, or damaged by lowering the soil level, installing pavement, repairing sidewalks, or digging trenches?
  11. Has the site recently been changed by construction, raising the soil level, or installing lawns?
  12. Have the leaves prematurely developed an unusual color or size?
  13. Have trees in adjacent wooded areas been removed?
  14. Has the tree been topped or otherwise heavily pruned?

To get a copy of the complete two page handout from ISA, go to

Are your trees at risk? Click or call us for a tree risk assessment: San Jose (408) 654-9806, Peninsula (650) 477-8995, Bay Area (415) 515-9907.

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