As we head into spring we might have some windy, warm days, which can give way to Sudden Branch Drop. The name implies exactly what it is, you’re walking through the forest or your backyard and you hear a popping and cracking sound and all of a sudden a huge branch just falls out of a tree. Luckily or hopefully you weren’t underneath that branch but, sometimes even without wind, limbs can fall on perfectly calm days. This is also known as sudden limb failure and it may happen on hot, calm days typically in the summer but it can happen throughout the spring as well.

Sudden Branch Drop - Look Out!

There’s really no reason why this happens other than possible humidity levels within the tree. A tree can absorb water and then distribute that water through the tree including branches, leaves, roots, and trunk. The moisture must be released somehow and as it releases it cools the tree down. However, when calm or hot conditions limit how much moisture a tree can release, you might be subject to limb failure. There are other reasons for sudden branch drop which could include internal cracks that can’t be seen on the outside, tissue shrinkage, very dry soil or drought, moisture changes in the air or ground, gas released inside the tree or deterioration of the cell wall structure.

Because of the unusual way this happens, it’s hard to predict. It’s important to keep an eye on your trees, especially large trees that could have huge limbs fall from them. Older trees, maples, and elm trees are usually the victims of sudden branch drop but it can occur in just about any other tree. Trees with large, horizontal limbs that sweep upward at the tips are more likely to suffer from this. Branches that extend beyond the trees main canopy can also be subject to limb failure.

Sudden Branch Drop - Look Out!

If you can, inspect the tree for discoloration, cracks or darker spots where water appears to be seeping out of the tree. This could be a potential limb failure. Don’t place benches or other furniture underneath these trees and try to stay away from them or simply call a tree removal company to safely remove the damaged limb or branch.

If you’re concerned about sudden branch drop or limb failure give us a call. We can inspect the tree and offer suggestions and solutions to keep you, your family, and your property safe.

Images Bidgee [CC BY-SA 3.0 au (], via Wikimedia Commons |