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A tree has fallen in the garden. I have two questions:

  1. Was this a natural occurrence, or was the tree intentionally damaged?
  2. Is there anything I could have done previously to prevent this mishap?

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  • Did you just have a big storm? The ground is still wet. Commented Jun 20 at 12:09

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There are a lot of variables in this question such as:

  • what species of tree
  • any damaging wind storms
  • the possible action of vandals
  • a disease could weaken the tree

What can be seen that contributes to poor tree health is:

  • extremely compacted ground around the tree. Compacted soil discourages roots and growth
  • no protection from environmental hazards such as people or machinery

Trees in urban environments in North America usually only live 20% of their normal lifespan due to

Urban trees must withstand pollution, poor soils, limited legroom for roots, and pressure from insects and disease. What’s worse, most are planted incorrectly, and their health and cultural requirements – sunshine, water, soil, and climate – are not monitored.

I suggest that some combination of the factors above led to poor growth and weakened the tree.

Things to do for urban trees:

  • plant them properly
  • choose the right tree species for the site
  • mulch yearly around the base of tree
  • provide physical barriers in the form of edging or trunk guards to protect the trunk and reduce compaction
  • water them once planted and during dry spells

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