Growing and Maintaining Healthy Trees

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Three Ways Your Senses Can Sniff Out Tree Trouble While House Hunting

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Now that it is time for you to enter the property market and buy your first home, you are itching with excitement to find the perfect place to be your first residence. There are plenty of resources to help you with the hunt. A real estate agent will provide you with choices, while a building and pest inspection service will make sure there are no major structural problems with the property before the contract goes unconditional. However, did you know that three of your five senses are all you need to spot trouble with trees in the back garden of any property you like? These are the three factors you need to know. 


The eyes are the first sense to help you find trouble with trees at a property you love. The most visible sign of a problem is the presence of unhealthy trees outside. You can tell a tree is dead or diseased by the lack of healthy growth, an unnatural lean and brittle branches on the tree.

Trees that are close to death need removing before you move in because they are a safety hazard. With intense annual summer storms just around the corner, a sick tree is likely to be pushed over by the wind. An unstable tree has the potential to land on the new home you've wanted for so long.


Your nose will help spot trouble in two different ways when it comes to problematic trees. Firstly, a strong smell of rot is an indicator that the tree needs to go because it cannot be nursed back to health and saved.

Secondly, a stinky smell of sulphur, gas or sewerage is an indicator the tree roots have penetrated plumbing pipes. Cracked plumbing pipes mean remedial work is required to fix these before you buy the home and inherit the problem. Once you deal with the broken pipe, the culprit tree also needs removal to stop the roots causing further issues.


Feel the bark of a suspect tree and consider what it tells you. If it feels greasy and slimy, then the moss is going to cause you future problems. The moss is an indicator of damp soil (which can loosen the grip of the tree roots) and an excess of air moisture which causes rot to begin in the branches. Remove this tree before the damp takes hold and rots it from the inside out.

If you find a home you love, but your senses tell you the trees out the back will cause future dramas, negotiate the removal of them as part of your sales contract.