2.10 – CRACKS: During your visual tree hazard inspection, be on the lookout for cracks or minor clues of cracking. Cracks seem to most often form or open up inside a fork union or between two attached tree trunks. Referring back to the section in this report about branch attachments the “V” shape is the type to inspect for cracks forming between the two tree parts. Another recent eye opener is the large number of hurricanes to hit Tallahassee and the North Florida Pan Handle. These heavy resulting winds have left trees with internal stressors and cracks that we don’t even know about. These cracks are called shear plane cracks which result when forces applied to the tree such as wind create such a load that the tree literally cracks along the length like two planes sliding across each other. These cracks do not always create a tree failure at first but issues such as these allow internal decay to set in and years down the road when the tree fails most people will wonder, “What caused that?”
2.11 – WOUNDS: Be looking for odd wounds on the tree. On the lower trunk that would be bumps from cars around driveways or roadway edges that knock bark off allowing a source for decay and disease to start. Tree limbs that break off leave a nasty splintered wound at the broken limb section which leaves the tree with poor wound closure. In normal person words that means the tree does not heal easily with such a tattered wound. Wounds can be a source for decay and should be monitored by a professional arborist.
2.12 – NESTING HOLES: Okay, so no one wants to evict a family of squirrels or birds from a critter hole on the side of their tree but pay more attention to those little squirrel holes you see on tree trunks. Those are giant indicators of internal columns of decay. Basically, if a critter can live in it there’s a likely chance that the decay is larger than the small hollow that they inhabit. Since critter holes are usually large decay pockets, and trees tend to always break where there is decay, consult with a climbing arborist to determine how significant the hole is to assist in making the decision to cut the tree down or not.