Text for general information category of "About Tree Inspections"

Living in a house in Atlanta usually means that you're living with trees, and living under trees poses some level of risk no matter how healthy they are. There is always some possibility that a tree's trunk or branches will break. Do you have trees that hold unforeseen hazards such as these? 

  • Breakage

    Breakage

    A tree inspection of this mature water oak probably would have spotted signs of danger.
    This species is more prone to falling apart than the other oaks because of its rapid growth rate.
    (Fortunately, this tree was out in the open where there was nothing in the way when the tree fell apart!)
  • Leaning tree

    Leaning tree

    Some leaning trees are hazardous and others aren't. The risk depends on the species,
    where the tree is located, what's around it, and what condition it's in.
  • Double-trunk tree

    Double-trunk tree

    This massive double-trunk red oak is cracked at the base. We suggested options other than removal,
    such as cabling and bolting the tree, to lower the danger of its breaking apart. The homeowners chose
    to reduce the risk and keep their tree.
  • Cold lightning strike

    Cold lightning strike

    A lightning strike can be fatal to a tree, and even spread to the electrical system in the house.
    But some trees survive. This post oak was hit by a cold (surface) lightning strike, and is healing itself.
  • Hot  lightning strike

    Hot lightning strike

    A hot lightning strike reaches temperatures of over 100,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When it hits a tree,
    it causes the moisture inside to expand, and the tree explodes. Fortunately, our friend Liz's house
    sustained only minor damage.
  • Leaves and fruit

    Leaves and fruit

    What is more hazardous in your yard or driveway? An acorn? Slippery leaves? Pine cones or hickory nuts?
    Or maybe something like this sweetgum ball. Sweetgum trees are lovely, but their fruit can be really annoying!

    Risk Ratings

    When our arborists inspect a tree, they will give it a risk rating — low, moderate, high, or very high — based on the Tree Risk Assessment guidelines of the International Society of Arboriculture. Their assessment will take into account the many factors which influence risk, as well as hard data from a Resistograph when indicated.

    Each tree risk rating has its own set of options for reducing that risk, up to and including immediate removal. Though we will usually make a recommendation about whether or not to have a tree removed, the final decision rests with the homeowner. For low-risk trees, which require no action at all, and very high risk trees, which should be removed immediately, the decisions are easy to make. Whether a homeowner decides to remove a moderate- or high-risk tree depends on your budget, how much you like the tree, how much risk you can tolerate, local tree ordinances, and how much you value the opinion of the tree inspector. Are you working with someone whose opinion you trust? Is his judgment based on experience? Is he clear about why a tree needs to be removed? If the answer to any of these questions is "no" or “I’m not sure,” it may be wise to get a second opinion.

    Some tree services will try to scare you into taking down a tree. Someone may walk up to your door and tell you there's a dangerous tree on your property that needs to be removed immediately. Always be suspicious! Ask for evidence. What makes the tree unsafe? What are your visitor's qualifications for assessing trees? Think to yourself: What does this person stand to gain? Is he looking for an easy sale of a tree removal? We've heard the horror stories. Save yourself alot of money and heartache by working with a trusted and proven tree expert or company.

    Include a Certified Arborist in the planning!

    Most municipalities require a Certified Arborist to review your plans before they will give you a permit to add on to your home or build a new one. The arborist will write a "prescription" of things the builder must do to help your trees survive the effects of that construction. For example, an arborist will identify and clearly mark critical root zones of trees to prevent the roots from damage.

    We recommend getting a Certified Arborist out as early possible in the planning process, even before the permitting process begins. Occasionally his suggestions to build around trees rather than removing them causes the homeowners to think again about the design of a project.

    Sometimes we are called for advice about other construction-related projects. By offering alternative construction methods, we can save your special tree. Here are four examples.

    • New Home

      New Home

      This temporary fence around the magnolia tree will save it from damage during construction of the home.
    • Deck

      Deck

      By using concrete blocks, this lovely deck could be built, and modified when needed, without interfering with the tree's roots.
      (Picture courtesy Marge Lisius)

    • Path

      Path

      This "bridge" over the sidewalk on Houston Mill Road is an excellent example of how a path or driveway can be built to preserve the roots of a tree. We can advise you about how to accomplish this.
    • Treehouse

      Treehouse

      These homeowners were very careful when they built their treehouse around the tree.