Analysis of Big Leaf Maple Failure – Kirkland, WA
This Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) had failed before we arrived. The tree was located on a neighboring property. During a windstorm, a large limb fell and damaged the client’s fence. Making matters worse, the neighbor suggested our client had damaged the tree during a recent landscaping project and was therefore responsible.
Tree133 was requested to evaluate the remaining tree and determine the actual cause of failure, to help with neighbor negotiations. As the limb had fallen several weeks prior to the site visit, the small debris had already been cleaned up and only large wood remained for inspection. The challenge was to determine cause of failure with limited evidence.
During the site visit, we carefully inspected the condition of wood material on ground. We also reviewed pictures of debris, provided by client, and performed an assessment of the remaining tree. Through this process, we found the actual cause of failure. The evidence was clear and convincing for a knowledgeable arborist.
The actual cause of failure was decay originating an old cut made when the neighbor removed another limb several years ago. Progression of that decay compromised the limb attachment and caused the failure that damaged the fence. Our assessment also identified other declining limbs and defects in the tree that presented further risk to both properties.
Our findings were documented in a professional Arborist Report that enabled our client to obtain compensation for the fence repair and convince the neighbor to perform appropriate tree maintenance to reduce the risk to everyone.