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Know signs of coming treefall

Cracks in trunk, bulges in bark could spell trouble for white oaks

                Trees in the Pacific Northwest — tall and majestic though they may be — are not always without downsides, the most obvious being their potential to lose branches or topple altogether during particularly fierce storms.

Sudden treefall occasionally causes damage to nearby homes or personal property in the process. And the larger and older ones, which are often the most highly prized by those who love trees, may also be the ones most in danger.

Signs of a problematic tree can include cracks in the trunk or in the surrounding soil (which may indicate weakened roots), bulges or seams in the bark, large cavities, fungal growth and reduced leaves or budding. However, some of these can also be a normal part of a healthy tree’s life cycle, which is why getting a professional opinion should be considered.

Local pines, cedars and sequoias, for example, shed their needles every few years. To the untrained eye, arborists say, these trees may appear as if they’re “dying,” when they are, in fact, perfectly fine.

On the other hand, large trees growing out of hand can crack or otherwise disrupt a house’s foundation with its root system, and smaller trees can become troublesome if their branches are close enough to the house that they’re providing access to squirrels and other pests.

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