Tree trouble checklist

609319_S(1)A majority of home shoppers say they prefer a home site and neighborhood with abundant trees. But along with the beauty and shade provided by trees come potential problems, such as broken tree limbs landing on your car. Before you purchase that little forested dream home you’re looking at, take a close look at the trees that come along with it.

Falling trees and flying branches cause millions of dollars in damage each year. Knowing how the trees around your property could affect your home in a storm could save your life. Check for limbs that hang over your roof or driveway, or come in contact with power lines. Look for cracks in the bark or mushrooms growing on the tree, both of which signal an ill or weak tree. Inspect trees on your property regularly for these signs of damage:

• Cracks in the trunk or major tree limbs

• Hollow and decayed areas

• Trees that look one-sided or lean significantly

• Branches hanging over the house near the roof

• Limbs in contact with power lines

• Mushrooms growing from the bark, which may indicate a decayed or weakened stem

• V-shaped forks, which are more likely to split than U-shaped ones

The best way to keep future tree trouble at bay is to keep your trees properly pruned at all times. Avoid pruning branches flush to the trunk, which removes not only the limb but some of the trunk wood, and opens the tree to possible decay or insect damage. Avoid over-pruning, as it can weaken a tree. When in doubt or for large trees, contact a professional tree service company and/or a consulting arborist.

Don’t let your trees just stand there. Keep them trimmed with care and they’ll be the highlight of your home’s outdoor spaces.

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