How to Spot a Dangerous Tree

Unfortunately, even something as natural and beautiful as a tree can become dangerous and can not only cause serious damage to property but also cause injury to people. Normally trees become dangerous when they are entering the later stages of a disease or when they have been damaged by extreme weather.

Worrying Signs to Look Out For

There are several worrying signs to look out for which can mean that action needs to be taken to remove the hazard for the benefit of the tree and also for the people that they tree may come into contact with. They include…

  • If you see signs of ground movement (‘heave’) or cracking at the base of the tree on a windy day there could be cause for concern.
  • If you see a raised soil opposite to the tree’s natural lean could indicate uprooting.
  • If you have a tree that is overhanging a road or a building then seek the advice of a professional tree surgeon, often just removing some of the overhanging limbs (‘crown lift’) can remove the hazard, making it safer for all.
  • If you see fungal growth like mushrooms on or near a tree truck, it can be a possible sign of rot or decay. A professional tree surgeon will be able to determine how extensive the decay is and what steps are needed to remove the rot to stop it spreading further or affecting other plant life. Missing areas of bark on the tree trunk can also indicate a dead section of the tree as a result of a fungus attack.
  • The points where trunks connect must be inspected for weakness or past storm damage. Note: Stronger connections appear as a U shape at the crotch, whilst a tight V shape usually means a weak connection.
  • If you can spot dead wood easily with or without leaves that are completely brown, then this is a dangerous sign that the wood can fall. If you see this then the dead branches need to be removed by a professional tree surgeon.

Worrying signs that are nothing to worry about

A tree is not automatically dangerous if it is tall. All trees grow as much as its species will allow it and as large as it can with its space and availability of light, water, nutrition and oxygen.

Neither is a leaning tree dangerous as more often than not the tree will lean due to competition for essential nutrition and space with other trees. If a previously vertical tree suddenly develops a lean then this is a cause for concern and you should seek the advice from a professional tree surgeon.


If you are worried about any potentially dangerous trees in your garden or surrounding area then contact a professional tree surgeon for advice. For a tree surgeon in the South East area including Kent, contact CareFell on 01227 764 744 or email at