How Can You Tell If A Tree Is In Danger Of Falling?

Winter snow storms and ice storms can impact sick trees in a variety of negative ways. Cold temperatures and heavy ice can worsen a tree's condition, leading to broken branches. In the worst-case scenario, diseased trees may get knocked over by the wind or ice. Falling trees can damage homes, cars and even injure people. Now that winter is here, homeowners who have one or more sick trees on their property may find themselves wondering if their trees are in danger of falling. Knowing how to spot the warning signs of a weak, sick tree can help you protect your property and even your family members.

How can you tell if a tree is in danger of falling?

Trees that are in danger of falling due to severe winter weather will often show signs of advanced disease and structural instability. These signs include:

  • A significant lean in one direction. Basically, all trees have a slight lean, but trees that are noticeably leaning to one side may be doing so because their roots are no longer able to hold them in the soil. As the tree and roots become weaker, the lean will become more severe.
  • Heaving of soil around the trunk. Heaving soil in the area around the trunk is a sign of movement in the roots. This is an indication that the tree is slowly falling over.
  • Fungus and mold. Mushrooms and fungus are a sign that the tree is slowly rotting from the inside out. Over time, the fungus and mold will take over the tree and contribute to its death.
  • Lack of foliage during the growing season. Many trees naturally lack foliage in the winter, but a lack of foliage in the summer is a sign of a problem.
  • Cankers. A canker is a section of dead bark on a tree. Cankers are often the result of a wound on a tree that hasn't healed properly. Cankers can harbor fungus and other tree diseases. While some cankers are not lethal, others are a sign of lethal infection.

What should you do if your tree is showing signs of distress?

If your tree is showing signs of distress and may be in danger of falling, have it evaluated by a qualified tree removal company (such as It's never too late: tree removal can happen at all times of the year, including winter. Contact a tree removal company to find out whether or not your tree needs to be removed from your property.