Tree Care FAQs: What Causes Branches to Break?

tree pruning in GainesvilleIf you have a lot of trees on your property, chances are you’ve gone outside after a particularly rough storm to discover branches tossed around all over the place. Sometimes it’s merely small branches, but you could also be facing the fall of a major branch large and heavy enough to severely damage your car, house, or even injure someone.

How can you tell which branches are at risk of falling? Are there any branches near your home that could be a safety hazard? The best way to prevent property damage and injury from falling branches is to have your trees inspected regularly by a professional tree service company. At Mr. Tree and Lawn Service, we have over a decade of experience in commercial and residential tree services in Gainesville and can help you assess and protect the health, safety, and appearance of your trees.

There are some simple indicators that tree experts can look for to identify branches in risk of falling. The main symptoms of a branch failure include:

  • Epicormic branches- Improper tree pruning or other injuries to the tree can cause this phenomenon, as well as environmental factors. Epicormic branching is caused when injured, diseased, or improperly pruned branches  are replaced by new sprouts. These new branches are not attached as securely as normal branches. Rather than coming from the tree’s stem, they attach at the surface of a stem or topped tree. Because they also tend to grow more quickly than normal branches, they create a perfect storm of excess weight and poor anchoring structure.
  • Included bark- Ideally, the rings of wood a tree grows each year connect securely from the branch to the stem of the tree, creating a structurally sound branch union. However, in some cases a branch will grow too close to the stem, with bark between the two. The bark ends up growing inside the tree, creating a point of weakness. Over time, as more and more bark grows, the branch’s union with the tree grows weaker and will eventually fail. If caught early, preventative tree pruning can address this problem and result in a healthier, stronger branch structure.

Photo by NatalieMaynor via Flickr (CC by 2.o)