Zone 1: The tree as a whole
From a place where you can see the whole tree at one time, take a long look. Focus on the entire tree, rather than its individual parts, and observe all its parts.
- Is the tree leaning? What is it leaning toward? Has this lean been there for a long time? Is it leaning more than it was a day, week, or month ago? Is the tree leaning in an easterly direction? Trees that lean toward the east are more vulnerable to falling because most of the winds come from the west.
- Can you see any big dead branches? Are there a lot of dead branches, or just a few? Are they on the lower part of the tree? Only on one side of the tree?
- Are there sections of the tree where there are no leaves at all? Does the tree have a thin leaf cover? Are the leaves dropping much earlier than from other trees of the same species nearby? Do the fallen leaves look unusual?
- Are the branches dying back from the tips?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, your tree may be sick, imbalanced, dying, or in the process of falling over. Get the tree evaluated immediately by a Certified Arborist. Better to be safe than sorry.