Tree Health Assessment – When to Call an Arborist With Costs

Trees contribute to numerous advantages for your property. In addition to providing oxygen, sheds, and fruits, trees trap dust to keep your home clean. However, your tree needs to be healthy for you to gain all those benefits. Otherwise, the tree can die and harm your property.

So, what can you do to ensure your tree is healthy?

Once a tree is sufficiently grown, you may not need to do much. However, you can conduct a tree health inspection to ensure that trees in your backyard get enough nutrients and grow with optimum health. 

Here, in this blog, we are going to discuss tree health assessment in detail. We will touch on all the necessary aspects of tree health assessment right here.

What is Tree Health Assessment?

Tree health assessment systematically investigates every part of a tree for its healthy growth. Generally, mature trees that are 20+ years old are subjected to tree health assessment. In this tree health inspection, the overall health of a tree, structural integrity, vigor, and useful and safe life expectancy are assessed.

The foremost concern of performing tree assessment is ensuring the overall community’s safety. The second biggest concern of this process is keeping the trees healthy and their outlook intact.

Why is a Tree Inspection Performed?

In most tree inspection cases, a tree’s structural integrity is the primary concern. Trees, being large objects, can take damage from natural calamities, like storms, tornadoes, lightning, and typhoons. While trees can endure such damages and protect your property, the tree’s structural integrity can be severely damaged. 

However, sometimes trees can suffer from poor health, and their decline can make the limbs die or decay. In any case, damaged branches and tree limbs can pose severe risk factors. Thus, performing a tree inspection becomes necessary.

Assessing the Condition of a Tree

In most cases, you may not notice your tree’s problems unless it’s glaringly obvious. A decaying tree trunk, dangerously hanging tree limbs, or a major break in the trunk are prime reasons for you to get a tree health inspection service.

However, the problem may have been going on for a long time. If the assessment is done earlier, the tree could be saved and live for more years. So, it is necessary to assess tree conditions regularly. 

How much risk a tree possesses is determined by the following two factors: 

  1. The tree’s value and how much the homeowner is concerned about losing it potentially
  2. If a limb or the whole tree falls, what it would strike

Therefore, the risk is dependent on where the tree is located. If there is a hanging limb over a public sidewalk, it is considered high risk. On the other hand, the risk may be lower if the tree is situated in the middle of your property in a low-traffic area.

How Often Does Tree Health Assessment Need to be Performed?

In most cases, people call a professional to perform a tree health assessment once there is any obvious damage. However, in such cases, most trees cannot be saved and need to be chopped down.

However, if the problems are spotted earlier, they can be addressed accordingly, and the trees can be saved. Therefore, performing regular tree assessments reduces the risks and costs. 

Arborists recommend performing tree assessments every three years. However, if there is any circumstance like droughts, heavy storms, or health deterioration is seen, prompt tree inspection can reduce hassle exceptionally. 

Tree Health Evaluation Checklist

When a tree health assessment is performed, the following factors are thoroughly assessed:

  • Cracks: Checking out for cracks is one of the most common assessments performed during tree assessment. Major cracks can split tree bark, heartwood, and softwoods. Therefore, the tree’s structural integrity will fail, making it vulnerable to insects, diseases, and decay.
  • Leaning: Tree leaning happens when tree roots get loosened from the soil. This condition can increase as the season passes. In severe cases, the tree may need to be removed.
  • Root Plate Issues: Softening of degradation of root plate may separate the lateral root system and make the tree unstable. Root diseases, deep planting, and mower blasts are the primary cause of root plate issues.
  • Root Girdling: When the trunk and the roots develop into each other, the roots can envelop the trunk. In such cases, the trunk and the roots compete over water and nutrients. 
  • Co-dominant Stems: Two likewise dominant terminal stems can be developed in a tree. In such cases, one of them needs to be removed. Otherwise, they will compete with each other and hamper natural growth.
  • Insects and Diseases: Insects and diseases can damage a tree from the inside and may not show significant signs. However, arborists can easily detect such signs. Early detection of such problems can help save the tree.
  • Decay: Inner heartwood tissues softening due to any ailment can cause decay to trees.
  • Growing Condition: If the tree’s growing conditions are less than optimum, several problems can occur within the root system or the whole tree.

What to do After a Tree Health Assessment?

Once a tree health assessment is performed, you will learn whether or not your tree is hazardous. If hazardous, you should take swift action to prevent such hazards and save your tree. The solution can vary depending on the situation and the location of the tree.

In some cases, it is possible to reduce hazards by removing the target. For example, you can put a fence around the damaged tree to restrict traffic near the hazardous area. The same can be done for hanging limbs till the tree is pruned.

Removing the hazard is another option to keep everyone safe. Some defects of your tree can be mitigated to reduce the impact. You can brace cracks or co-dominant stems of your tree with bolts to prevent tree failure. Also, leaning trees can be cabled to prevent them from falling. However, removing hazards may need repeated inspections from the arborist.

Pruning is another option where dead branches are removed to balance the tree canopy. In some cases, the mitigating hazard may not work. In such cases, removing the tree may be the safest option, even if it is costly.

Early Signs of an Unhealthy Tree

Detecting if your tree is unhealthy may be hard for you. However, if you see the following signs, make sure to consult an arborist to ensure the health of your precious tree.

  • Broken and/ or dead branches
  • Significant leaning of a tree
  • Epicormic growth (sprouting branches midway along the branches or the trunk)
  • Canopy thinning
  • Bite marks or holes in leaves
  • Changing leaf color in the wrong season
  • Loosening of tree bark
  • Root decay was identified by fungi growth at the tree base
  • Improper leaf shape

How is Tree Inspection Performed?

The tree inspector starts performing a tree inspection in a methodical fashion. First, they evaluate the soil and root collar of the tree. Here they look for discoloration, fungi, or trunk grinding, indicating any structural compromise.

From there, the professional will move to the tree trunk to see if there is any loose bark, hollow areas, or structural cracks. Often these signs indicate that other animals are living inside the tree.

Gradually, the inspector will inspect structural limbs of how they are attached to the trunk and move towards the branch tips to find concerns. 

The whole process may be done from the ground, yet the professional will know what to look for. They may find hanging limbs in the deeper part of the canopy that you may not have noticed earlier.  

This is the whole process of tree inspection. A trained eye may see a lot of things that are not visible by normal eyes.

How Much Does Tree Health Assessment Cost?

Depending on needs, purpose, and expected results, tree health assessment costs vary a lot. In general, you will be charged between $40 to $450 to assess tree health. 

In some cases, arborists may provide tree assessments for free. In those cases, they may not provide a formal report. But will provide a fair assessment of how much you will need to spend to remove hazards from your tree.

Does Tree Health Assessment Include a Risk Assessment?

A tree health assessment is done to determine a tree’s health condition. A professional arborist can also perform a risk assessment but only at the owner’s request.

A risk assessment is carried out to determine if the tree poses any potential risks. Performing risk assessments can increase the cost of tree health assessments.

When Should You Call an Arborist?

Taking necessary precautions with your trees helps you maintain them in optimum condition while saving money by reducing property damage and tree removal costs. Therefore, you should consider calling an arborist regularly.

You should hire a professional for tree health assessment twice a year- once in the summer and once in the winter. However, arborists mostly offer their services throughout the year.

Make sure to find a certified arborist for the best possible results for your tree. They will conduct the assessment properly and offer innovative solutions to restore your tree’s health. It will keep your property intact and your tree canopy healthy and beautiful.

If you are concerned about the health of a tree on your property, it is best to consult a certified arborist or call us at (800) 478-7966. Our arborists can provide a comprehensive tree health assessment and make recommendations for the best course of action to ensure proper tree management.