In today’s society, trees are viewed as a safe part of the urban environment. There is an expectation you can safely sit or park under a tree in the neighborhood without fear of the tree falling over.
Premise liability suggests property owners have a duty to maintain their property and protect the public from foreseeable tree hazards. A property owner who fails to protect the public from a known, foreseeable hazard resulting in injury or property damage may be held liable in a lawsuit.
Arborists act to reduce risk by examining trees, rating their likelihood of failure and recommend a course of action to abate the hazard and reduce the risk. Tree risk assessment demonstrates a property owner’s pro-active action to meet their “duty of care”.
Reasons for having a Tree Risk Assessment performed
- Recent change in tree condition, ie: crown dieback, trunk leans, crack in trunk or limbs, roots lifting or dirt mounding around roots.
- Change in tree condition during adjacent construction activity.
- Sudden tree decline or change in physical surroundings.
- Changes in grade.
- A public high pedestrian use area.
- Infrastructure conflicts.
Tree risk assessment involves the examination of a tree, assessing the tree defects and associating the defects with a known pattern of failure and then rating the degree of risk the tree poses to a “target”. A target may be a person, property or utility that would be injured or damaged by a tree failure. Therefore, hazard assessment not only focuses on the tree but on the potential presence of a target.
The three components of tree risk assessment are:
- A tree or tree part with a potential to fail.
- The environment that may contribute to the failure.
- The person or object that would be injured or damaged by a failure (known as the target).
By conducting a thorough evaluation, the defective parts of a tree that are likely to fail are identified so they can be treated or abated. A tree risk assessment represents the arboriculture industry standard for evaluating the potential for a tree failure. Take proactive measures to minimize the potential for a catastrophic tree failure. Protect your family, the public and property while enhancing the safety, value and functionality of the trees on your property. RDCS LLC is an independent San Diego arborist consultant, certified tree risk assessor and professional horticulturist.