my new paranoia: fear of falling trees

This is a repost from last year. Stay safe if you’re in a Sandy zone!

I’m always remarking how much safer I felt living in the city rather than the ‘burbs. On dark and stormy nights, I miss being in close proximity of other apartment dwellers and having only one point of entry into our home. I also miss sleeping in a 12-story brick building that I know can’t be toppled by a falling tree. This weekend we were figuratively blown away by an extremely rare October snow storm. It was cold, wet and dangerous: The still-green leaves clung to tree branches, catching the damp heavy clumps as they fell from the sky, adding tons of weight to branches. Isadora and I sat inside, watching the spectacle out of the windows. POP! Down a limb would come crashing, just missing our neighbor’s car. Luckily no serious damage was done, but now I can’t help but look at the massive oak tree in our front yard with trepidation. It seems criminal to chop down a tree that’s been around hundreds of years. How do you know when it’s time to say good-bye tree, hello chain saw? This slide show, How Safe Are Your Trees at iVillage, offers some handy assessment ideas. Be on the lookout for warning signs like dead branches, splits in the trunk or even mushrooms growing out of the roots. — Angela M.

Have you ever had property damage caused by falling limbs or trees? Share your horror stories here!

Image from iVillage/Getty

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My horror story is more emotional damage.

We had an “October storm” a few years ago, hundreds of mature trees were lost after all was assessed and it really changed the entire feel of the city. Tree planting parties were common the following year, but I still can’t figure out which house is an Aunts after the trees from her yard were cut.

Planting trees with their mature size in mind is a good thought. Keep in mind foundations, sidewalks and sewer lines.


I am totally with you. We have the two biggest trees in the neighborhood in our backyard (seriously the two biggest oaks most people have ever seen) and every time we have high winds I steal my son out of his crib to sleep in our bed since his room is on the back of the house and ours is on the front.

People always try and reassure me, but after the tornados we had this year (I am in Alabama) I am never going to not worry about it.


I consulted two arborists when we purchased our house to ask about the state of the four trees, two in front and two in back.

They were able t predict quite accurately that two of the four were in poor condition and how much longer it would take before they needed to come down.

Sure enough, right about the time they predicted for the one in back, one day I heard a huge crack and thud. One big branch down. I called out the tree remover than day.

When in doubt, ask an arborist for some advice.


A tree fell on my place a couple of years ago. I didn’t hear it fall but was confused in the morning about the leafy view out all of my windows. No damage to the structure though. Sad to lose the tree but far less consequential that I would have guessed.


I work in a garden and we just spent the last few days cleaning up the damage from that storm: countless limbs, entire trees, and the gardens pretty much crushed by the snow and whatever else fell on them. Heartbreaking.

A photinia was just coming into its autumn color and was a beautiful glowing ball of red/orange before the storm. Now it has lost about 50% of its major branches and looks forlorn. Really painful to see.

During the snow, my boyfriend and I saw a 2+foot diameter norway maple fall 5-10 yards behind a bus. Terrifying.

Oh yes, it has happened to us. We have massive elms all round our house. This past April, one uprooted and crushed our kitchen. It was the scariest night of my life! Here’s my blogpost (with lovely pictures included) I wrote the day after it happened!


Three weeks after we moved into our house we had a massive nor’easter that knocked down three ~80′ tall pines. I never even heard them fall; I looked out our bedroom window and our yard was filled with pine needles. Luckily, they didn’t hit anything other than my neighbor’s fence, they lay neatly across my backyard, over the neighbor’s fence, and continued until they tapered to their ends. NOT what we were hoping for in the new house.

You would feel better by calling a pro to inspect your tree. Also consider a deep root feeding to help encourage root growth – naturally keeps the tree more stable. The tree in your picture shows obvious rot and likely would have been recommended for removal.

i think there may be more than the odd problem of a falling tree after this week with the hurricane sandy hitting the east coast of america. only property damage though thankfully :) it puts the above tree problems in to perspective.

What a timely (re)post! I couldn’t imagine. I guess you can’t really prepare for something like this as it’s literally a one in a million chance it might happen to your home.