Tree Tips: Unseen Dangers Lurking


After a mild winter it is still nice to see the beginning of spring. However before we get to the spring flowers, there is always the last few winter storms. Actually, last week we saw a pretty bad wind storm, resulting in a tree falling across the road, just up from us. This can be seen in the picture.

This Norway Spruce lost a 30 ft. top, which ended up across the road, but missing the hydro lines by a few feet. In such a situation it is easy to say that the wind was the reason the tree failed, however, this is not the case. The tree failed due to the unseen problem of dry rot, which is fairly common in older Spruce trees.

Even though dry rot is often confused with wet rot, the two problems differ greatly. Dry rot is much more difficult to detect. In the case of dry rot, the wood decays as a result of being infected with certain species of fungi, which in turn digests the area of wood which gives the tree its strength and stiffness. Dry rot is extremely hard to detect without taking a core sample, and even then it is very possible to miss it.

Norway Spruce is particularly susceptible to dry rot. Often by the time the problem is obvious it is too late. The best way to avoid damage caused by a tree falling is to pay close attention to the overall health of the tree. Older Spruce trees in high traffic areas, or over leaning buildings should be inspected, and if not deemed healthy, possibly removed.

If you have a question, you can email me at, and I will respond either by email or in a future article. If you would like me to come and assess one of your trees, you can call me at 519-272-5742.

Joel Hackett is a Certified Arborist Residing in the St Mary’s Area. Spending most of the year running Joel’s Tree Service, he also teaches Arboriculture during the winter at Lambton College. Joel Hackett does not assume any Liability for any information in this article.

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