Is a Hollow Tree Dangerous?

How to Tell & What to Do


While birds, squirrels, and other animals may see an opening in a hollow tree and think home, homeowners may see it and think danger. Tree hollows are natural occurrences and not an immediate cause for concern. However, it’s still best for a professional to assess the situation and help you plan for the tree’s future.

Signs of a Hollow Tree

It’s always a good idea to watch for any signs of disease and decay in a tree. Some signs are more detrimental to the health and safety of the tree than others. A certain level of decay is natural for many species of trees, and an arborist can help determine the best course of action.

Even if you see hollow spots along the tree trunk, it could still be structurally sound. These spots are also no indication that the tree is diseased as it can still survive for years this way. Many older woodland trees are found to be hollow—to the delight of many woodland creatures—but their strong foundation and surrounding bark structure help them survive.

While it’s easier for more mature trees to withstand hollow sections, younger, less established trees have a harder time overcompensating.

The Dangers of Tree Hollows

Of course, there are instances when a hollow tree is more at risk of falling—especially during a storm—and should be removed. An arborist can help determine if the tree is too weak to support itself. A professional is also required for the removal of such trees, since it’s more unpredictable and can easily cause injury or damage if not handled correctly.

What Can be Done

Other than removing a weakened tree, there’s nothing that can be done to “fix” it. A strong, healthy tree has already built its own bark barriers around the hollow areas to support the tree. Trying to fill in these areas doesn’t help. It could actually cause more harm by creating an unnatural barrier to the tree’s growing process.

The best thing to do is call in a professional arborist. They’ll evaluate the conditions and plan a course of action. Regular safety checks should be done and could lead to tree removal. Contact Elite Tree Care for more information about hollow trees and for a consultation if you believe your tree is one.

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