Westcoast Tree Care has been taking care of trees throughout the Pacific NorthWest for a long time. One situation that we’ve found to be particularly dangerous due to its unexpected nature is summer limb drop. Summer limb drop is the sudden, unexpected loss of a tree limb. That’s why we’d like to provide you with the following Sandy, Oregon tree care tips for preventing summer limb drop.
Summer Limb Drop Causes
During calm, hot summer days, seemingly healthy trees can drop limbs unexpectedly. While we’re not 100% sure why it happens, there are some contributing factors that can cause summer limb drop. These include the following:
Evapotranspiration is a term used to describe the process of sweating trees. Large trees can draw up large amounts of water from their roots and trunk into its limbs on really hot days. This process helps to cool a tree as moisture is released through its leaves. Evapotranspiration can be easily observed by placing a plastic bag around a plant, creating condensation inside the bag as the plant sweats. When large limbs absorb large amounts of water on a hot day, this water can weigh a lot, potentially breaking it in the process. Other factors that can increase this risk are existing defects, wind, or infections, causing a limb to drop unexpectedly.
Trees with pre-existing defects can also contribute to sudden limb drop. However, you may not notice a minor defect as an immediate threat. Even minor limb defects can be potentially hazardous. Something as small as damage caused by a woodpecker or squirrel can create a defect that gradually worsens over time, causing a limb to crack and fall unexpectedly.
Disease & Infestation
A diseased or infected limb can increase the chances of sudden limb drop. If the disease or infestation causes any defects in a branch or releases excessive gasses, it can lead to increased pressure, weakening a limb’s structure, leading to its failure, causing it to drop unexpectedly.
Drought & Weakened Structure
During the summer, hot temperatures combined with a heavy canopy combined with reduced evapotranspiration can weaken the structural integrity of a tree, causing a limb to become compromised. Reduced evapotranspiration can be the result of drought-like conditions, cutting off a limb’s normal access to water. In this weakened state, even the slightest breeze can cause a compromised limb to drop.
Furthermore, increased evapotranspiration can cause the same hazardous effect. Sudden, heavy rains after a drought can spell the end for one of its limbs. Why? The increased load from the sudden absorption of water from a thirsty tree can cause a limb to drop.
Preventing Summer Limb Drop
If you have large, mature trees on your property, you may want to consider the possibility of summer limb drop. Although it can be difficult to predict, there are a few things you can do to spot the warning signs and prevent summer limb drop. First, summer limb drop generally occurs in mature trees with large limbs. However, it can also happen to smaller trees too. In either case, summer limb drop can seriously injure people and damage property below.
The best thing you can do is to have a certified arborist at Westcoast Tree Care inspect your trees. We can spot many dangerous flaws that most people don’t notice or know what to look for. In fact, we can identify hazardous flaws that can impact you 1-10 years in the future. In the meantime, you should always watch out for any leaf discoloration or visible cracking as these can be dangerous warning signs that may indicate sudden limb drop.
Additionally, having a tree properly pruned also helps to prevent summer limb drop. Excessive, foliage combined with a compromised limb on a hot day can spell a big problem. Incorrect or a lack of pruning is also something a certified arborist at Westcoast Tree Care can quickly identify and correct.
Sandy, Oregon Tree Care
If you’re unsure of the trees on your property or might be concerned something is not quite right, give the certified arborists at Westcoast Tree Care a call. We’ve been helping residents in Sandy, Oregon, and the surrounding areas keep their trees healthy, beautiful, and safe for years. Fill out our online form or give us a call at 1.800.767.8733 today.