As the last of the fall leaves drop to the ground, winter is emerging. The silhouettes of trees begin to emerge as the dominant landscape feature. The true character of trees are revealed as their limbs and twigs are fully exposed. To me, as an arborist, a trees limb structure is its most interesting physical characteristic. It also allow us to see into the entire canopy .
Winter time allows arborists to evaluate what the “body language of trees “ is telling us. All of the defects and adaptations that trees make to cope with the stresses of life can be seen without the foliage, This makes winter an ideal time to do visual tree inspections. If it is something you would like to do yourself, start by doing a 360 degree walk around your trees. Look at the base, trunk and main branches and where they attach to the trunk. You are looking for any cracks, fissures, or peeling bark. As you look further into the limb structure, you would be looking for broken and hanging limbs and again some peeling bark. We would also be willing to send you out a pamphlet from the ISA on identifying tree hazards if you would like some more details.
If you trees are really tall a good set of binoculars would be a big help also. Use common sense and don’t be scared of every little bump on a tree. Be curious and have fun with it. If you need clarity, call a certified arborist.