Tree Hazard: Sudden Branch Drop
September 21, 2015
Have branches suddenly been dropping from your large trees for no apparent reason? We’re seeing “sudden branch drop” emerge as a growing concern for homeowners in the Dallas & Fort Worth areas.
Feast or Famine
This past spring, the rains seemed endless. You might think that all that extra rain could only be a good thing for our urban trees. And while yes, we were very thankful for all the rain, too much of a good thing can have consequences. The excess water caused soil heaving around roots, nutrient deficiencies and a quick flush of heavy new growth in trees. The heavy rainfall also caused the vascular systems of many trees to expand very quickly.
Things Got Hot
When summer hit, temperatures soared and the rainfall stopped. But, many homeowners didn’t water during the heat, thinking that all the spring rain was more than enough to take care of their trees through summer.
Unfortunately, the sudden hot temperatures and lack of water caused vascular systems in trees to quickly shrink. That shrinkage can weaken the branch collar (the area where a branch meets the main tree trunk). When a branch collar weakens and less water and nutrients are reaching a branch, it can suddenly break and drop from the tree. To the untrained eye, there may be no obvious external signs of pending branch drop.
Pecan trees are especially vulnerable to sudden branch drop right now due to the added weight from the developing nuts.
Reduce your risk.
Hearing a loud crack and bang on a windless summer day is scary. A large, heavy branch that falls could cause damage to your roof, car, or worse hurt someone you love. Reduce the risk of branch breakage by following these important tips:
Prune Preventative: If it’s been years since you had your trees pruned, then you definitely want to have a certified arborist do an evaluation for you. Spotting hazard branches, heavy overgrowth and other issues before they fall, or before the next big storm or period of drought, can save your tree and your property.
Water Smart: Rainfall may be adequate in spring or fall months, but you must remember to step up your watering of trees during the hot summer months, or during very dry winter months. If you are watering with an irrigation system, your trees might not be getting enough moisture. In the summer months, supplementing irrigation specifically to your trees might be needed so that they receive a thorough soaking. Consistent watering can prevent conditions such as sudden branch drop. Details on proper watering HERE.
Feed Your Trees & the Soil: When trees have the nutrition they need both from healthy soil and supplemental fertilization (when needed), your trees will naturally be better able to withstand extreme temperatures, storm pressure, pests and diseases. Read more about our SEASONS program.
Schedule an Annual Tree Check-up. A tree check-up, at least once per year, performed by a certified arborist, can help you catch and prevent disaster before it happens. A trained arborist can identify key nutrient deficiencies, structural problems, pest infestations, pruning issues and many other factors that affect the health of your valuable trees. Depending on the number of trees on your property, you may want to schedule quarterly check-ups.