Occasionally, the first
sign of a problem with a tree is that it just falls over
onto the ground. The roots are flipped into the air and
the tree is in bad shape. Unless you can immediately
stand it back up, cover the roots and stake it, the tree
is a goner. Of course, you can only do this with small
trees unless you happen to have a large crane handy.
Reasons for an otherwise apparently tree to fall over
- Certain primarily fungal diseases can cause the
loss of roots. Since one of the key jobs of the root
is to hold the plant in place, the tree can fall
over if enough of them are lost. More on
Severed Roots - Construction in the root
zone of a tree might weaken the root system enough
to cause the tree to fall over. Trenching for
utility pipes, excavation for basements, etc. can
also be a problem. Sometimes the results of the root
loss may not show up for years.
Shallow Roots - Some tree species such as
maples (Acer), are naturally shallow rooted. When
these and other types are planted in hard, heavy
clay soil, the root systems may struggle to
penetrate into the ground. They form very shallow
roots that do not have the ability to keep the tree
Root System - Newly planted trees,
especially larger specimens, take some time to
establish a stable root system. If they are
subjected to high winds, these trees may be more
easily tipped over than when they get their roots
system fully expanded. You may need to stake trees
for a year to avoid this when moving larger trees to
a windy site.
- Trees that routinely sit in standing water or on
sites where a sudden flood has occurred may be more
likely to topple. Seriously saturated soils may have
a lower ability to anchor the tree.
- Although some trees weakened by the factors listed
above will just topple over on a nice, calm day,
most trees will fall in a storm. Severe wind and/or
ice storms may bring down healthy trees too.