How to Spot a Storm-Damaged Tree

Dekalb County

How to Spot a Storm-Damaged Tree

Use caution around trees that appear dead or dying


DECATUR, Ga. – Tropical Storm Irma brought hundreds of trees down in DeKalb, and the county continues to receive reports of newly fallen trees. Storm-damaged and unhealthy trees pose a risk of falling, and the University of Georgia’s DeKalb County Extension office offers the following tips to evaluate the health of trees. Always use caution when examining potential storm-damaged trees.

Issues to look for include:

  • Large broken or hanging branches, especially over electrical lines.
  • Dead branches within the canopy, which are obvious potential hazards.
  • Cracks in the main tree trunk or at branch connections.
  • Large trunk wounds, cankers and galls.
  • Large tree hollows or cavities, which are also weak points where breakage can occur.
  • Cracks or separations in the soil, which may indicate soil heaving from excessive movement of the roots. This is especially a warning sign for failure if the tree is leaning.
  • Leaning trees that are already partially uprooted.
  • Mushrooms that may be growing on trucks, at root flares or farther out in the lawn but attached to the roots.
  • Excessive mistletoe, which is a parasitic plant.

For a proper tree inspection and consultation, the Extension service urges residents to contact an ISA Certified arborist, who can be found through the Georgia Arborist Association at