Dead Trees and the Threat to Our Homes

The drought is not done, but we may be dealing with the effects sooner that you realize. Large dead trees threaten our homes.

He looks across to his neighbors yard, and asks me if that tree is dead. This was a smaller tree about twenty feet tall. Leaves were a tan/brown. All the leaves were that color, and they were all on the tree. Yes, it was dead. That guy does not take care of his yard, was the response. True, but I have noticed this with more homes. I was at a short sale home doing an inspection, noticing that many bushes were dead. A dead bush or a smaller dead tree may not be a threat to the home, but they are a cost. New owners will have to replant or at least take these dead specimens from the yard. Where I begin to worry is the much larger trees.
dead pine tree

This large pine is about fifteen from the home. If you notice, the pine tree has dark brown needles, and they are still on the tree. Pine trees loose needles all of the time, but these evergreens do not go all brown at once. When they do, you have a problem. Why do I see this tree as a threat to the home? This tree can become weak, and then it will come down in a windstorm.  Hurricanes are the obvious big windstorm in Houston, but we can have strong winds at other times too. In the worst case, the entire tree may come down. More often you will see branches coming down first. I would advise making the removal of this tree a priority.
   The dead pine tree is obvious. How can we tell if a deciduous tree is dead? One survival mechanism for trees during a drought is to go dormant. This dormancy may look like a dead tree, but there are differences. When a tree or bush is dead, the leaves go brown, and they stay on the tree. A tree going dormant has leaves going brown, but the leaves fall off, like in autumn.
    We are loosing a good portion of our tree canopy. They do help our homes, so I find it a shame that homeowners use the drought restrictions as an excuse not to water. The house with the pines has a dirt yard. The house has many problems which can be observed when walking past it. This lack of care has put the family in jeopardy, which is awful. Maybe you are trying to save money, but taking care of your home and property does save you money.

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Greetings

This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank

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