This is your reality check. Without a thorough worksite and tree inspection, it is impossible to know the risks. So, open your eyes and activate your senses. What do you see, hear, feel and smell? It’s all about increasing your awareness and understanding.

Note that when working with storm-felled trees in the forest or urban environment, for example, a site inspection only needs to be done once for the area you are working in – and does not have to be repeated for each tree. But you do need to do a Visual Tree Assessment for each tree.

Worksite Inspection

The worksite inspection gives you a broader understanding of what’s around you. What is the terrain like? The weather conditions? Look for potential obstructions and hazards. Are there buildings, power lines/cables, roads or sidewalks? Most importantly, are there people and/or pets nearby? Is the tree or parts of it under points of pressure and tension? Are branches lodged in surrounding trees?

Checklists pdf > Worksite inspection.pdf

Visual Tree Assessment (VTA)

Now it’s time to do the Visual Tree Assessment. Start with the crown since there might be risks or hazards overhead that you need to be aware of and deal with before getting closer to the tree. Are there hangers or dead/weak branches? Look for cracks or splits along a stem or branch attachment. What about the shape of the crown – is it symmetrical? Is the crown interfered with by other trees? Are there hazards in the crown? Also, be sure to check for animals or birds and bird nests, according to the legislation in your area.

Examine the root zone. Do you see any signs of weakening in the tree’s anchoring in the ground? Is it a windblown tree? Are there cracks in the root flare? Perhaps no root flare at all? Soil mounding or compaction? Do you suspect root damage? Are there mushrooms at its base?

Next, inspect the condition of the trunk. Are there signs of decay, loose bark, cracks, swelling or depressions? Do you see mushrooms, clambering plants, vines or insect infestation?

Checklists PDF > VTA.pdf

Last edited

December 12, 2022

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