A tree defect is any feature, condition, or deformity of a tree that indicates weak structure or instability that could contribute to tree failure. Some common types of tree defects to look out for include:
Two or more stems that grow upward from a single point of origin and compete with one another.
Bark is incorporated in the joint between two limbs, creating a weak attachment.
Sunken or open areas wherein a tree has suffered injury followed by decay. Further indications include: fungal fruiting structures, insect or animal nests.
A lean of more than 40% from vertical presents a risk of tree failure.
Change in diameter over the length of trunks, branches and roots.
Water sprouts in canopy or suckers from root system. Often grow in response to major damage or excessive pruning.
Content source: Wikipedia
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