What Is It? Sudden Branch Syndrome

Any sudden changes to our trees can be alarming. When branches suddenly fall from your trees for no apparent reason, your first thought is that it is diseased or suffering from pests. But it could be suffering from sudden branch syndrome.

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Also called summer branch failure, sudden branch syndrome often happens on clear, calm, hot days. Failure can happen to branches that are both apparently healthy and those with signs of decay.

What Trees Are At Risk Of Sudden Branch Syndrome?

Sudden branch syndrome can occur in all trees but most commonly found in oaks, eucalyptus, sycamore, beech, and elm trees. Limbs that that break are typically long and horizontal and found on older trees.

While there is no consensus about what causes this syndrome many hypotheses have been made, including:

  • Internal cracks
  • Changes in the wood’s properties on hot, dry days
  • Position of the branches
  • Poor pruning that shaves of small side branches and leaves a long “over-extend” limb. This “lion-tail” effect often leaves a cluster of leaves and twigs near the end of the branch and changes the load on the branch.

Watch Out For Other Falling Branches

When a branch suddenly breaks from your tree, keep an eye out for more falling branches and keep people, pets, and property away as it could happen again. By doing so, you are doing your duty of care to keep your property a safe place to be.

Prune Your Trees Correctly

To reduce the chance of branch failure you should always get your trees pruned correctly by a professional to remove any unsafe limbs. Choose a tree care company that does not top trees and is highly trained, insured, and has the right equipment.

Get Your Trees Regularly Inspected

If your trees experience any kind of damage or breakage, it is important to call an ISA certified arborist to inspect the tree as soon as possible. They will examine the tree to find any evidence of decay, disease, or pests that could contribute to sudden branch failure and recommend regular tree health care.

The ISA arborists at Hansen’s Tree Service will meet with you to discuss your tree care needs and implement a care routine to help prevent limb breakage.

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Call Hansen’s Tree Service At 636.379.1830

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