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The Importance of Identifying Hazardous Trees on Your Colorado Property.

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Why is hazardous tree identification so important?

Timely tree assessment is a crucial part to identifying hazardous trees on your property to avoid bigger consequences like fire, bodily injury or property damage - all of which could result in costly repercussions like lawsuits.

All hazardous trees give some indication about their state. Even if you can’t tell with your naked eye, Layman Tree Service can help you identify hazardous trees on your Colorado property and help you put an action plan in place to handle these hazardous trees.

Let's take a step back. What's a hazardous tree?

A hazardous tree has the potential to fall on power lines, vehicles, people, houses, or any other structure causing damage, accidents, or loss of value because the tree is defective qualities. Corrective treatments and/or removal completely depends on the type of defective qualities the trees presents. - We’ll help you identify the level of hazard!

What are the common signs of a hazardous tree?

  1. Bifurcation - a “split” in the trunk of the tree that leads the tree into two separate growths. The point of bifurcation in most lodgepole pine, alpine fir, spruce and aspen is highly unstable. Trees with bifurcations are at extreme risk for breaking off, sending the top of the tree in the direction of its lean.

Bifurcated Split Tree
Bifurcated Split Tree

2. Isolated lodgepole pines (at risk of windthrow) - As a species, lodgepole pine grow together in tightly packed forests where they use each other’s proximity for structural support against elements like wind and snow loading. Lodgepole pines standing alone with no break from wind bursts are highly likely to snap off near their tops. The tree industry refers to removing these trees as "wind throw mitigation". Layman Tree Service can perform an assessment to mitigate the risk of all trees capable of reaching your home or structure in the event of windthrow.

3. Leaning trees - It is common for any tree to have a slight lean in one direction or the other. The severity of the lean determines its level of hazard as does its proximity and leaning direction towards a home or structure. Layman Tree Service can calculate whether or not your leaning tree can reach your home or structures.

4. Exposed root systems - Large trees, especially spruce and fir, are highly susceptible to wind events. When the roots of a tree are exposed - visible above ground - their underground anchor system is compromised. Exposed roots are also prone to rot which also leads to structural decline. If you have large trees on your property with exposed roots you should have them properly assessed by a professional with Layman Tree Service. We can explain the risk level of a particular tree and what to do about it.

Hazardous trees come in all shapes and sizes - some hazards are blatantly obvious (hanging limbs and leaning trunks, for example), while other hazards (rotting cores or roots) may not be as easy to identify.

How do I manage my hazardous tree situation?

Living in the Rocky Mountains comes with the responsibility to manage your property to protect not only your own home and well-being, but also the well-being of your surrounding community. Avoid damages from falling trees or standing dead trees (highly combustible) by hiring Layman Tree Service for your next tree removal or tree service project!

View all of our tree services available here and be sure to check out your options for a Defensible Space Grant - we'd love to help you secure a grant for your tree project.

Example of Hazardous Tree: Trunk decay (exposed cambium)
Example of Hazardous Tree: Trunk decay (exposed cambium)


Operating in Summit County since 2018, Layman Tree Service is independently owned and operated by Breckenridge resident Robbie Layman. Robbie has accumulated years of first-hand mentorship from working closely with the best in the business to deliver an unmatched quality of service in the tree removal industry. Robbie first learned from accomplished arborists who have worked in all areas of the United States and studied under tree felling experts with the U.S. Forest Service, before opening his own Tree Service company in 2018.

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