What is Sudden Limb Drop?

What is Sudden Limb Drop?

We frequently receive calls from residents who have had seemingly healthy limbs fall unexpectedly in their yards, in calm conditions. This is often caused by something called sudden limb drop.

Sudden limb drop has been studied heavily, but the exact cause has not been fully identified.

Some known facts associated with sudden limb drop in our area:

  • Often occurs during hot summer months.
  • Often takes place after a drought followed by heavy rain-fall.
  • May happen during calm days, but more likely to occur at night.
  • May affect healthy-looking limbs.
  • Likely to occur with trees that have had issues with sudden limb drop in the past.
  • Healthier trees tend to be less susceptible than stressed trees.
  • Most commonly occurs with Oak species, specifically Red Oaks, Chestnut Oaks, and Willow Oaks.

Thankfully there are steps you can take to increase safety on your property.

What can I do as a homeowner to reduce risk?

An important step is to schedule a consultation with one of our ISA Certified Arborists. Our arborist will evaluate:

  • Tree health and structure.
  • Soil conditions.
  • Signs of previous sudden limb drop.
  • Excessive limb load that could increase the potential for sudden limb drop.

Structurally compromised and diseased limbs can be identified from a proper ground inspection. A more thorough evaluation is able to be conducted while in the canopy of the tree working.

A Consulting Arborist may recommend services based on the general health of the tree. These recommendations can reduce the likelihood of sudden limb drop and may include the following services:

  • Pruning to reduce weight.
  • Mulching to increase water retention.
  • Fertilization to improve nutrient availability.

Less chance of sudden limb drop means increased safety for your property.