Industry News: Tree Risk Assessment

Q: How can we determine that our neighbor's tree is a potential threat to our property?

Monday, January 4, 2016  

Is it possible to determine if a tulip tree is likely to fail or is already hollow inside, based on the fact that many large branches have broken off, with branch stubs 50 to 75 feet up the trunk? The tree is probably more than 100 years old and over 100 feet tall. We would like the neighbor to cut the tree down because it is close to our house and garage and seems likely to uproot in a windy storm. We need help convincing our neighbor of the potential threat to life and property that the tree presents. Branches of considerable size continue to fall. The tree has never been pruned. What are the characteristics of a tree that's likely to fail and uproot?

The level of risk that a tree represents depends on many factors and requires a thorough examination by a trained arborist to determine accurately. Seeing it is your neighbor's tree, it sounds as though there might be an issue with getting permission to have an arborist examine the tree from their property. Though less than ideal, an arborist may be able to make a reasonable determination about the risk associated with the tree through a visual examination from your property. Once you have the assessment of a qualified arborist and his or her recommendations for mitigating the risk (up to and including total removal), you may need to consult an attorney to explore your legal options for a remedy with your neighbor if he/she is not willing to take action.


Responder: Patrick Parker, RCA #514, Bedford Hills, NY