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What Is Summer Branch Drop? What Should I Do About It?

When you take good care of the trees on your property, you expect them to thrive throughout the year. Still, there are some problems with trees that are out of our control. Most people don’t expect a healthy tree to suddenly suffer from the loss of large branches, but this is an issue that happens often in the hotter months. With no real warning, large trees can fall victim to what’s called summer branch drop. When this occurs, it can leave an uneasy feeling for tree owners wondering if it could happen again.

Arborists haven’t been able to narrow down the cause of summer branch drop. Still, damage to both people and property occurs each year as a result of the issue. With the help of professionals like Mr. Tree, you can lessen your chances of summer branch drop occurring on your property. Read on for more information about what it is and what you can do about it before and after it occurs.

What Is Summer Branch Drop?

Summer branch drop is the unexpected falling of horizontal branches from an otherwise healthy tree. Also known as sudden branch drop, this occurrence normally strikes tree owners off guard, as the trees that suffer this fate usually don’t show any signs beforehand. This issue can happen to any kind of tree but is more common in older trees as well as oak, beech, and elms.

When Does It Occur?

You wouldn’t expect your perfectly healthy tree to drop a large limb randomly, but that’s exactly when summer branch drop usually strikes. There are often no visible symptoms that can be spotted by an untrained eye, such as a crack in the branch or something noticeably applying weight to it. The branch drops on own its own, with little to no warning beforehand.

Another aspect that makes summer branch drop so alarming is that it usually has nothing to do with the weather. Tree limbs falling are often associated with heavy wind conditions that put weight on already weak branches or intense snow or rain conditions, but that isn’t the case for summer branch drop. Summer branch drop typically occurs during the hot or mild weather that is experienced in the summertime. The lack of extreme weather or climate is just one more thing that makes people so shocked when it occurs.

What Causes it?

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Though there is no confirmed reason for summer branch drop, there are a few theories that professionals think could be the cause. One of those theories is that it could be due to too much moisture retained within the tree. Excess moisture in the tree and its branches could put unnecessary weight on the tree, causing large branches to weaken over time and eventually break off.

Another possible theory is that summer branch drop is caused by bacteria within the tree. In this case, the bacteria could be slowly rotting inside of the tree, weakening it, and causing branches to break unexpectedly. Both of these potential reasons are issues that cannot be seen by the human eye, making them harder to catch before damage occurs. Still, experts are unsure of the true reason this happens to seemingly healthy trees each year.

What Does It Effect?

While damage to the tree itself is definitely sustained when summer branch drop occurs, the immediate risk is more toward people and property. Because there are usually no signs that a tree is suffering in a way that will cause it to lose a large limb, summer branch drop is known to cause damage to the surrounding area and anything in its path. This often includes nearby property, parked cars, or power lines, and in the worst-case scenario, it can cause injury to people sitting under the tree or nearby.

It is a dangerous occurrence because there is nothing to alert property owners before it occurs. And when you think that you have a healthy tree, there is no reason to avoid the area around it.

What Can I Do to Prevent it?

Though summer branch drop can occur unexpectedly at any time, you can help to minimize the chances of it happening to your healthy trees with the help of local professionals. Having a tree service company such as Mr. Tree inspect your trees occasionally can allow them to spot signs of weakness in the branches that you might not notice. During this kind of inspection, professional arborists will try to spot unsafe branches, identify branches that are at risk, as well as recommend services to lessen the weight of branches on your tree.

Services like pruning and trimming could be helpful in preventing any serious injury to people or property caused by summer branch drop. The staff at Mr. Tree can also trim back branches that are too close to property or commonly used areas. They can prune away any dying or weak branches as well, removing branches that have already broken off the tree.

What Do I Do After It Happens?

You have a few options when it comes to what to do about summer branch drop after the fact. Those options depend on how much damage has been done to the tree. Again, determining what steps to take next should include the advice of a professional local arborist.

After summer branch drop occurs, professionals can remove large branches that have fallen onto the property. They can also inspect the tree to see if it will be able to recover from the damage that has occurred. While some cases may just call for trimming down the area that has been damaged, others will call for the complete removal of the tree to ensure the safety of the people living around it. Mr. Tree can perform tree removal services safely, as well as stump removal to make room for something new once you decide to have it removed.