Dangerous Trees: What You Need to Look For

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- After the red oak tree fell on Wednesday in Jonesboro at the corner of Main Street and Cherry Street, landing on a car, many are wondering if the trees in their front yards are safe.

Residents like Sanet Jennings say they do worry about what could happen.  Jennings has lived in her home in downtown Jonesboro for three years.  When she first moved in, one of the huge Oak trees was struck by lightning. 

"We came home from Memphis and found it leaning up against the house, so that was a little nerve wracking," said Jennings.

Certified Arborist Mike Donahue told Region 8 News that it's not uncommon for trees to fall.  However, there are several things you can do to figure out if you have a tree that can be a danger.

"Probably one of the best things you can do as a homeowner or a property owner is to visually inspect your tree," said Donahue.

You can look for rot, an unstable root system, or construction work that's been done around the tree's base. 

"Look for different colors in the branches or a dead branch," said Donahue.

Donahue also said that when squirrels and raccoons that make a tree into their home, that can be an indicator that there is some type of rot inside the tree.

Generally speaking most of us don't have to worry about our trees being unsafe.  But there are cases where you should pay extra attention to certain trees for your own safety and for the safety of others.

"If you've got a tree that's on the street or that's on the driveway or by your neighbor's house, that would definitely be a little more high priority tree than some trees on a couple of acres in your back yard," said Donahue.

Checking your trees over every six or 12 months is also a good idea.  If you're worried about a tree in your yard you can contact a tree service or an arborist who can come out and check the tree and let you know if it's safe.