Tree safety starts with good tree health –even small branches can have a serious weight behind them when they fall and a potentially deadly weight in some of the larger branches. A regular pruning and lopping plan for practical health and safety reasons can be a good idea. A balanced general appearance will make your trees and shrubs aesthetically pleasing, with the added bonus of keeping them healthy and safe.

It’s all about risk control. A checklist can help you identify some potential problems with your trees. A failure to carry out some basic routine checks can leave your trees susceptible to everything from wind shear –where the trees canopy is too dense, branches tearing away in windy weather– to fungal infections that can weaken a tree and bring branches and even the tree itself down with little to no warning.

First check is (obviously) to see whether a tree is alive or dead. Dead trees present a serious hazard to you and your property and should be removed immediately. If a tree looks… well…alive, then check for any visible signs of poor health like dead branches, dead leaves or twigs at the ends of healthy-looking branches and any visible signs of damage to roots or wounds on the trunk and branches. Dead-wooding, pruning and removing these sections that leave a tree open to attack from pests and fungal infections, as well as dealing with a potential hazard, can be beneficial to a trees overall health. In certain cases however, a tree will need to be removed altogether.

Rot and fungal infections can weaken a tree to the point of collapse. Early signs of a fungal problem can be spots on the leaves with advanced signs being fungal spores and growths that generally mean the tree is beyond help. Afflicted trees can be dangerous and whilst removal is usually the only option sometimes damaged sections can be removed if caught early enough.

Roots in particular are vitally important to a trees health and well-being. Any sort of disturbance and/or damage to a trees root system can have dire consequences. With all the rain we’ve been having, the sodden ground combined with acute wind events can uproot whole trees with sometimes deadly results. A healthy root system is therefore at the forefront of a good tree management plan and integral to tree safety around your home.

As you can see many factors can affect the structure and stability of the trees in your garden and early detection of impending problems should be every home-owners goal. Initial tree selection is usually the best way to avoid most of the above scenarios –unsuitable trees should be removed (council regulations permitting) and replaced with a more suitable planting. Trees, unchecked, can lead to serious damage and anguish, with the potential harm from fallen branches and trees reduced by a little extra vigilance on our part.