How Far Can a Tree Lean Before it Falls in Reston, VA?

While it seems unbelievable, not all trees will remain completely upright throughout their long lives. Sometimes, trees will lean to one side. Tilted growth isn’t always a problem, but how far can a tree lean before it falls?

Dos Amigos Tree Experts is a top-rated tree service in Reston, VA. As an ISA-certified arborist, our team is well aware of the dangers a tilting tree poses. The post below explains the tree lean threshold so that you know if your leaning tree has become a fall risk. 

Why Do Trees Lean?

Sometimes, trees naturally grow on a slant. That curvature or lean doesn’t inherently mean the tree is in danger of falling. However, sudden tree leans due to severe weather are a problem you need to keep an eye on. 

If your tree grows upright but looks skewed following a storm, the roots may be unstable due to damage. Inspecting your trees after a big storm is a good idea. Check for signs of root instability, like soil disturbances or lifted roots.

What’s the Tipping Point for Tree Falls?

So, how far can a tree lean before it falls? The maximum tree lean before falling or uprooting itself is about 15 degrees. 

Is the lean exceeding a 15-degree angle? Usually, this indicates a problem with the tree’s structure. It could come crashing down, potentially causing injuries and property damage.

A Dying Tree Can Be Hazardous

Another issue here is that dying trees don’t always stay vertical. As the plant’s health fades, root systems weaken and the tree could lose branches or fall. Dying trees are also too weak to protect themselves against pests and diseases, so may invite unwanted critters into your yard. 

Factors To Consider When Trees Tilt Too Much

How far can a tree lean before it falls? Who is responsible for a fallen tree? If you’re asking these questions, you might also be wondering about leaning trees and falling risk. 

Consider the following factors that cause a leaning tree to topple:

The Angle of the Lean

Slanted trees with a strong root system won’t topple. Still, slanting over 15 degrees increases the risk of a fall if there’s a storm or high winds. A lean that appears to have always been present is just the way the tree grows, but sudden changes need attention.

The Reason for the Lean

Exploring why a tree isn’t growing straight up is another clue. Natural slanted growth is normal. Was it intense winds that caused your tree to shift and grow to one side?

For mature trees, oversaturated soil could weaken the root systems. If high winds push the tree out of position at the same time, such as during harsh weather events, leaning and falling are more likely to happen.

The Tree’s Location

Lastly, if your leaning tree is in an empty field, it’s not a danger to anyone or anything. 

You would need emergency tree removal if the leaning tree is close to people, houses, sheds, power lines, or vehicles.

Get Help With Your Leaning Tree in Reston, Virginia

How far can a tree lean before it falls? Knowing the answer may protect you from property damage and injuries due to a fallen tree, not to mention liability issues if it falls on someone’s fence, car, or building. If you have specific questions about tree inclination and stability in your yard, don’t hesitate to contact Dos Amigos Tree Experts! 

If your tree is dead or dying and starting to lean, we can help. As a licensed, insured, and ISA-certified arborist, we offer quality tree care services like tree cabling, removal, and pruning. Call (703) 300-6103 for a free estimate from Dos Amigos Tree Experts today!

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We are a locally owned company based in Alexandria, Virginia, servicing all areas of Northern Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland.

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Alexandria, VA 22312
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(703) 300-6103


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