Trees Need Health Checkups Too

Keep your home safe from falling trees


uprooted treeYou try to eat right, workout, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  But have you thought much about the health of your trees?  Summer in Arizona brings an increased risk of storms, high winds, microbursts, and wildfires.  In addition to harsh weather, infestation and disease can easily damage unhealthy trees, making them more likely to drop limbs or become uprooted, causing damage to your home and property nearby.  That’s why it is important to periodically inspect the trees on your property to make sure they are healthy and in good condition.


Consider the following when evaluating trees and the ground beneath them:

  • Is the tree leaning? If a tree is leaning toward your home, consider closer evaluation of the branches, leaves, trunk, roots and/or soil to make sure the tree is healthy and well anchored.
  • Are there dead or broken branches and thin or missing leaves? Are there a lot of dead branches?  Are they in the lower part of the tree or just on one side?  If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, your tree may be sick, imbalanced or possibly dying.
  • Are there cavities or splits in the trunk, missing bark, or pockets of decay? If so, you may have an unhealthy tree on your hands.  A crack or split in the tree trunk could be a sign the tree will fall or break apart at any moment.  Missing bark is often a sign of a dead section of the tree, which can be caused by a surface wound, infection or fungus attack.
  • Is there fungus near the tree’s roots or trunk? If you see fungus on or near the tree’s roots and/or trunk, the tree may be decayed. Decay will weaken the tree and make it more apt to fall.  Consider contacting a certified arborist immediately if the tree is located near your home.
  • Is the soil cracked and/or raised? Examining the soil around your tree can also give you an indication of the health of your tree.  Cracked or raised soil may be a sign that the tree is in the process of uprooting, which is often the first step to a tree falling over.
  • What trees may need a little extra care?  While walking your property it is a good time to identify the trees that need pruning or trimming.  Hints that your tree(s) are in need of such attention include broken branches, cracks, crossing or wandering branches, dead wood, excessive greenery, tree cankers, uninhibited tree growth and misshaped trees.  Also, special attention should be paid to any trees within 20 feet of your home and/or outbuildings.


Did any of your trees show one or more of these warning signs?  It may be time to call an expert. Pruning needs, and the best time of year to trim, vary depending on the type of tree.  In most cases, if you are in the low desert, pruning during summer is not recommended. However, if your tree poses a danger, it may not be possible to wait.  Your local Cooperative Extension Service may be able to provide free guidance and advice, if there is a certified arborist or horticulturist on staff.  You can also hire an arborist for a professional opinion. All 15 counties in Arizona are served by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.  For other parts of the country, use this link to find a Cooperative Extension near you.

Also remember, if you live in an area at risk of wildfire, it’s of vital importance to keep trees trimmed so branches do not grow close to your home.  You’ll also want to keep a clear zone between your home and all combustible vegetation.  Read this blog post for more information on wildfire-proofing your home.

As always, if you have questions about your homeowners insurance coverage, reach out to your GSW advisor by phone, 480.99.1900 or email.


This article was adapted from a post by Chubb,

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