Snap, Rustle and Drop: Why Trees Drop Limbs Without Warning

Trees drop or shed twigs and branches all the time. However, people usually don't notice until a larger branch falls off a tree. Branches drop for no apparent reason, and this means you should always be watchful when walking under large trees. For instance, in January of 2018, a man collided with a falling tree branch in Bendigo, Victoria, while driving. The branch that caused the accident fell without warning.

Although it may be practically impossible to assess a tree while driving, you should take the time to examine trees on your property whenever possible. If you know how and why tree limbs fall suddenly, you can act before a tree drops its limb.

Trees Self Prune if Necessary

Since trees rely on photosynthesis for food production. Because of this, it is important that all the branches and twigs on a tree make more food than they consume. As a tree grows larger and its upper branches grow more twigs and leaves, the lower branches are sometimes cut off from sunlight. This prevents them from producing enough food.

When a branch does not produce enough food, the tree will cut off that branch's supply of minerals and water. It does this by sealing off the branch with resin. Eventually, the branch will starve and become dry and brittle. If you spot a branch with few or no leaves when your tree is otherwise in full bloom, it could fall in the near future.

Heat Leads to Limb Drop

On hot days and during droughts, trees can suffer "summer branch drop", a phenomenon that causes them to shed branches. Although many experts are still in the dark over what could cause trees to drop their branches during hot spells, there are some sounds theories. For instance, The Telegraph mentions that in hot weather, the wood of trees dries out and snaps.

Similarly, another theory, that of arborist, Pamela Sanchez of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, states that moisture buildup inside the branch is to blame. Whatever the reason, trees do drop limbs in hot weather or periods of sustained heat. During the coming summer, keep an eye on your trees.

You should also ensure that they are well watered. If one of your trees drops a branch during the summer or in high winds, you'll need an expert to assess the damage. Trees can survive branch dropping, however, uncontrolled drops, such as those during hot weather, may damage a tree severely. In this case, it should be removed immediately before it becomes a danger. For more information, get in touch with a company that offers tree removal services.