What You Need to Know About Sudden Branch Drop Syndrome

June 14, 2019 2:55 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Sudden branch drop syndrome is a dangerous and mysterious occurrence that happens to trees, resulting in damage to homes, cars, property and, frighteningly, even people. If you’ve ever been walking through a tree-filled area and heard a sudden pop followed by a giant branch dropping, you’ve witnessed sudden branch drop syndrome. You may perform tree trimming in Newton, MA to help prevent this for damaged or weak branches, but it can happen even on calm weather days, and in fact, it most often happens on still, hot summer days and nights.

Why does this happen, and what can you do to be aware of its possibility and protect yourself and your property? Keep reading for everything you need to know.

The mystery of sudden branch drop syndrome

While there is no real consensus among professional arborists, most tree professionals agree that sudden branch drop syndrome is related to the humidity levels within the tree and the release of moisture. That’s why this is most common on hot summer days. Trees absorb water from the soil through their roots, and then the water travels through the tree and is distributed through the trunk, into the branches and limbs and finally the leaves. Used moisture has to be released, which cools the tree as it evaporates. The process of the evaporation is called evapotranspiration, which encompasses the release of moisture through the leaves.

Evapotranspiration is inhibited on the hottest days, as the trees cannot release all the moisture they need to release. High humidity in tree canopies that can’t be released results in a high moisture content in certain branches, which might be the cause of the sudden branch drop. However, this is only one theory. It’s also hypothesized that sudden branch drop syndrome is related to tissue shrinkage from heat, internal cracks, deterioration in cell wall structure, gas release inside the tree tissue, wetwood bacteria, drought stress, overly dry soil and other theories related to the tree’s inability to perform evapotranspiration, resulting in the letting go of a limb that the tree cannot support.

Preventing sudden branch drop

Since sudden branch drop syndrome happens so spontaneously to otherwise healthy limbs, it can be difficult to predict it or prevent it through tree trimming in Newton, MA. Many branches that are dropped are otherwise flawless and don’t appear damaged or diseased. However, you can predict with some accuracy which branches might pose the greatest risk. Look for discoloration or dark spots where water might be seeping out of the tree, which can be a sign of potential limb failure. You may also be aware of not placing chairs or other property below trees that show signs of potential branch drop.

If you’re concerned about trees on your property, BBD Tree Service can help. Proper tree care starts with experienced professionals, and at BBD Tree Service, we have years of experience when it comes to all phases of tree care. From pruning and tree trimming in Newton, MA to all levels of care, we take pride in our thoughtful and careful approach to making sure your trees have a thriving, growing life for years to come. Call us today for a free estimate.

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