Theory in Practice: Tree Failures

In this true-to-life story, our certified arborist was called out to a residential property to inspect a mature maple tree with a rope swing. The owner had noticed signs of decay and wanted professional advice on how to handle the situation.

Mature Maple with Advanced Decay
Mature Maple with Advanced Decay

From 30 feet away this mature maple with rope swing presents as an iconic image of youth. Upon closer inspection however, there are signs of advanced decay, indicating an eventual failure with potential for devastating consequences. This single branch of a mature hardwood tree can easily weigh-in at more than 1,000 pounds, creating dynamic loads sufficient enough to damage vehicles and structures, and certainly more than sufficient to crush a human.

In this true life example our certified arborist, Mark Webber, was called to the scene to perform an inspection before the failure occurred. Because of the home owner’s proactive measure the surrounding area was blocked off until the rotting sections could be safely removed; no one was injured and no property was damaged.

In many of our assignments our professionals are not contacted until after something devastating has occurred. Experience in our industry repeatedly demonstrates that terrible tragedies occur, more often than you might think. This particular incident demonstrates that proactive attention to potential hazards can eliminate serious hazards before they become an issue.

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