What is tree inspection? Here is a guide on this process, including a task checklist, precautions, and Do-It-Yourself options.

Every year, precious trees die of sicknesses; trees fall and destroy properties. At times, trees fall and claim lives.

So whenever a tree is perceived disease-ridden, dangerous, etc., experts are brought in to help. Experts are brought in to confirm the genuineness of the concern.

The experts inspect the trees, then advise on what should be done.

So to put directly —

— tree inspection is (as the name implies) the inspection of trees. It is typically done by tree inspection services to ascertain the genuineness of concern about a tree.

If necessary, the experts also advise on what should be done.

About Tree Inspections

As the name suggests, tree inspections are meant to examine a tree to determine its general condition closely. A review can be requested when an infection is suspected.

Also, structural damage to a tree might require an inspection to determine its actual state. So, what does the process include?

Tree inspection consists of measurements, identifying the condition of trees, and figuring out what tree species you’re dealing with. Trees are more vulnerable to diseases and damage when young.

As such, inspections tend to be more frequent when they’re young.

Tree inspections are best performed seasonally. In other words, certain assessments are completed in spring, summer, fall, and winter, respectively.

You’ll need to sit back to learn more about the different inspections involved.

Popular Tree Inspection Terms

You should understand three popular tree inspection terms. They are — “arborist,” “target,” and “resistograph.”

  1. Arborist

An arborist is a professional who studies, cultivates, and manages perennial woody-stem plants. The word “Perennial” is used for plants that live for more than two years.

Arborists are also called tree surgeons.

Arborists are the experts called in for tree inspection.

  1. Target

A target is an object that may be fallen upon (by a tree possible to lose).

A target may be a car, school, house, etc.

  1. Resistograph

A resistograph is an instrument that provides a particular information type about a tree’s internal health. It can tell if a tree is internally okay (healthy), rotten, or hollow.

This device is one of the most common tree inspection tools.

Most seismographs work by using a mechanical component to drill into a tree. The mechanical component drills a 1/6” thick rod into the three. The resistance to the drilling is continuously recorded.

An excellent solid tree will cause excellent resistance, a rotten tree will cause less resistance, and a hollow tree will cause negligible resistance.

The drilling resistance recordings are then used to infer the internal condition.

Who Performs Tree Inspections?

The services of licensed tree arborists are required for comprehensive tree inspections.

These professionals have the right experience and skill to identify common tree issues and offer lasting solutions to your trees.

Here, the most fundamental aspects of tree health are assessed to diagnose what problems there are.

Here is what an average arborist inspection costs.

What Tree Inspection Includes

When it comes to tree inspections, quite many things are involved. The solutions provided are determined by the problems identified.

For example, an inspection might seek to improve tree safety, diagnose tree inspections, determine soil requirements, identify tree damage, and determine proper watering routine.

  • Improving Tree Safety

Determining the structural integrity of a tree is important because it enhances the safety of people and animals.

A damaged or diseased tree will likely get toppled by falling suddenly or breaking. Through inspections, all such problems are avoided. This results in improved safety for humans and animals.

Structural damage caused to buildings is also prevented. In a nutshell, tree inspection seeks to ensure there are no defects that could weaken it.

  • Early Diagnosis of Tree Infections

One of the primary reasons for tree inspection is to help identify or diagnose early infection.

Like humans, trees sometimes suffer from a variety of ailments or diseases. Such diseases begin to manifest, and it takes a professional to identify these symptoms correctly.

Infections and diseases can be caused by insect activity, bacteria, or fungi. With the help of an arborist, the problem is easily identified, and lasting solutions are proffered.

Early detection of tree infections is necessary to prevent steady deterioration of the tree’s condition.

  • Determining Soil Requirements

Particular soil types are considered ideal for growing certain trees. A thorough inspection helps determine what soil type is most suitable for your tree type.

Some trees are more tolerant of soil conditions, while others will require definite conditions for real growth or development.

Also crucial to tree growth is applying the correct type of fertilizer. The mulch requirement will also help with better development. As such, a

  • Identifying Tree Damage

During tree inspections, you want to figure out the tree’s condition, including finding out if there are damages.

Damage can appear in various forms, including those caused by heavy storms, damage caused by construction activities, and those caused through improper pruning.

The structural condition of the tree needs to be examined with possible fixes offered to enhance its health. Specific damages may not be readily noticeable, mainly when an inspection isn’t performed by a professional.

That is why you need a pro to handle your inspection needs.

  • Determining Proper Water Routine

Not all trees have the exact watering requirements. One of the ways to establish the right watering plan for your trees is by calling for an inspection.

Here, the season, type of tree, and age are considered. The proper watering method and technique are recommended at the end of such inspection.

Three Stages of Tree Inspection

When it comes to tree inspection, the process is usually performed in three stages; the preparation stage, the inspection proper, and post-inspection.

Each of these stages involves several actions, as you’ll find below.

i. Preparing for Tree Inspection

How does one prepare for tree inspection? Arborists understand the process of tree inspections and know what’s required for the procedure to be successful.

First off, the location of the tree is essential. Certain trees will be within your vicinity, while others may be far removed from civilization.

With this knowledge, you’ll need to prepare farther away from trees. Preparation in this sense includes having your water bottle take water along for hydration purposes.

Secondly, you’ll need to wear safety boots in readiness for the job.

How’s the weather condition around your area? This can be a factor that determines how well the tree inspection procedure unfolds.

You may want to put on basic protections like caps and shades to make your work conditions more tolerable. Some locations may have high and humid temperatures.

ii. Tree Inspection

Preparing for tree inspection is one aspect of the job, while assessment itself is another.

You’ll have to be attentive to many things during the tree inspection. The inspection process is primarily visual and includes looking out for signs of insect infestations.

Activities of destructive insects like termites tend to have adverse effects on trees. To examine termite presence, you’ll have to look closely for trails left behind, such as brown sandy markings and the tree’s bark.

Are there dangling, snapped, or dried-up branches? Those are possible signs of problems with your tree.

Abnormal growth, such as twisted tree trunks, is apparent trouble. You’ll need to have an explanation of why that is. Also, the unusual appearance of mushroom-like growth is a possible sign of trouble.

This may be due to possible rot. There are proper and improper ways of dealing with this situation.

Of course, you want to adopt the right approach to fixing the problem. Rather than removing such abnormal growth, which could further worsen the situation by spreading to other trees, it’s best to have the limb removed.

Sometimes, the problem may be discovered late, making it difficult to contain.

Under such situations, it’s best to have the entire tree removed. This process can be delicate and may pose an extra challenge for persons with no tree inspection and care skills.

You should consider that rot weakens the tree, increasing the affected tree limb snapping.

You may need an arborist to perform the removal process. That way, the risks associated with removal are reduced. During tree inspection, you need to look out for parasitic plants. These aren’t difficult to identify.

As the name implies, parasitic plants affect proper tree growth adversely.

Other things to Look out for During Tree Inspection

Damage may be inflicted on trees by human activity.

One of those is construction or other human activities. You’ll have to look closely to find any of such signs. Are there any exposed tree roots? Such may be damaged too.

Look out for signs of discolorations on the roots.

The soil level has to be examined to determine a tree’s condition. Here, you’re looking for signs of soil erosion. This condition affects trees and may make them more unstable.

Also, look out for splits or cracks in the trunk. Such could affect its stability and general wellbeing.

Bulges on trees are signs of trouble. Unnatural bulges on tree trunks point to possible issues during your inspection procedure. This is mainly attributed to internal decay.

Further examinations will be necessary to figure out the extent of the problem.

Improper pruning action could lead to issues with growth. The pruning wounds may not be appropriately sealed, resulting in holes with signs of discolorations.

These are possible issues you’re likely to discover during an inspection. Not everyone will be able to carry out a good job. That is why you need professional help.

iii. Post Inspection

Tree inspection is geared at determining a tree’s condition.

What follows after is as important as the inspection process. Having discovered and recorded the problem, adequate measures must be implemented to address it.

Sometimes, a problem may be developing, which requires implementing urgent fixes. Whatever the problem is, the expertise of a licensed and experienced arborist will prove beneficial to resolving the issue.

After the inspection process, the professionals discuss their findings and possible fixes recommended. These tree inspection procedures are crucial, and none is more important than the other.

DIY Tree Inspection: Is it Possible and Okay?

Do-it-yourself tree inspection is possible.

It is okay to carry out a DIY inspection.

Here, we will present some ominous signs to look for (as well as the respective meanings and fixes).

If you find any alarming signs, follow its corresponding advice on what to do. You shouldn’t need an arborist after that.

However, if the tree has no ominous signs, an arborist should come in. Arborists can discover more problems than you’ll be capable of detecting from reading this content.

In short, a DIY inspection is possible and okay, but you may still need an arborist.

Tree Inspection Signs, their Meanings, and What to Do


1. Deep cavities in the lower part:

Deep cavities in the lower part of a tree are a severe problem.

A wide range of things causes it.

You should bring down a tree with this problem as soon as possible. Given enough time or harsh weather, the tree will fall. So bring such a tree down as quickly as possible.

What to do: Find an arborist to bring down the tree. Bring it down as soon as possible. Do not attempt to bring it down by yourself.

2. Mushrooms in the lower part:

Mushrooms in the lower part of a tree are a severe problem.

This problem is often a sign of decaying trunk or roots.

Given enough time, the trunk or roots will reach a stage where it’s too weak to carry the upper part. At this point, the upper part will fall.

What to do: Find an arborist to bring down the tree. Bring it down as soon as possible. Do not attempt to bring it down by yourself.

3. Fine or coarse sawdust:

Fine or coarse sawdust from a tree signals a tree under attack or a finished tree.

Carpenter ants and beetles attack trees. And when they do, the result is fine or coarse sawdust from the tree. If an attack is still in its early stage, some trees may survive under proper treatment.

What to do: Find an arborist to treat or bring down the tree, depending on what they feel is best. The ants and the beetles can move to other healthy trees. So get an arborist soon to afford spread.

4. Many dead branches:

Many dead branches on a tree signal a health issue. A tree with this problem may be savable or finished.

What to do: Find an arborist to treat or bring down the tree, depending on what they feel is best. The sooner you get an arborist, the higher the chances of saving a savable tree.

5. Missing bark:

Missing or discolored bark can result from a wide range of things.

It could be caused by a mild problem, like an accident or a surface wound. It could also be caused by serious issues, like dying a section.

Missing bark may also be caused by a lightning strike. A tree may recover from such, or it may die.

What to do: Find an arborist to determine the exact issue and advise what to do.

6. Leaning:

Leaning signals an imbalanced tree.

Trees showing this sign are usually healthy. They are generally able to be saved. However, if left, they will likely fall and die.

The wind blows from the west to the east. So a tree leaning towards the east will fall sooner than a similar tree under similar conditions.

What to do:

Find an arborist to bring the tree back to a balanced posture.

Precautions For DIY Tree Inspection


  1. Do not walk under trees with dead branches.

Do not walk under trees with dead branches. A dead branch can fall at any time.

Take this precaution even if the dead branch(es) have fallen. There may be other weak branches you do not see.

  1. Do it during broad daylight.

You must conduct a DIY tree inspection during broad daylight.

If a tree is falling, you’ll want to be able to know where it’s from quickly. Also, you’ll want to see a safe place to move to clearly.

Taking this precaution also eliminates many problems from an accident happening at night.

  1. Commit your whole mind

Commit your whole mind to the activity when doing it.

You must be able to respond swiftly if a tree is falling. Having your mind absent in the activity makes that impossible.

  1. Do not have a kid around.

When a tree is falling, an adult will likely respond well. The same can’t be said for a kid. So when tree inspecting, avoid having a kid around.

  1. Wash your hands after

While tree-inspecting, your hands may come intact with poisonous substances. So after inspecting, wash your hands thoroughly.

It is recommended to wear gloves if you can.

  1. Do not do it alone

Do not tree-inspect alone.

In an accident, having another person around will be great. So make sure there is another person about.

  1. Put on a helmet

You can not be too careful.


The above are the most important things to know about tree inspection. But there are some additional information pieces I’ll like to add.

  1. Inspect After A Harsh Weather

Harsh weathers often affect trees, although this may not seem so from a distance.

So after every harsh weather, make it a habit to inspect every potentially dangerous big tree.

  1. Inspect Every 3 Months

Aside from inspecting after every harsh weather, also make it a habit to check after every three months.

This is to eliminate any dangerous surprise.

This is even more important when surrounded by many dangerously big trees.

  1. Use An Arborist Every 3 Years

The every-3-months inspection mentioned above may be a DIY inspection. So if you use DIY inspections for the every-3-months inspections, use an arborist every three years.

  1. Use Only Certified Arborists

Many people claim to be arborists. If you mistakenly use such a person, you may be wasting what you paid to hire one.

Before using an arborist, make sure they are genuinely certified. Many good arborists are offering good tree inspections.


Tree inspection is a necessary maintenance action that must be implemented and sustained. In other words, it should be scheduled to help keep your tree in good health.

Such assessments are widely applicable to different areas of human endeavor. In this article, we focused on tree inspection.

So, are you a tree lover? Are trees on your property? You have found out how to keep your trees in good condition. Inspections are best when scheduled as they help identify problems early enough.

We discussed the procedure, why you need tree inspections and the many benefits.

Again, we recommend working with an arborist to ensure the process is done right and far-reaching solutions are implemented.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *