Why Do Trees Fall?

trees fall

The main reason trees fall down in stormy or windy conditions has to do with their roots. In fact, one of the main jobs of a tree’s root system is to anchor the tree and keep it stable. Roots also absorb water and nutrients to keep the tree alive. There are different reasons why roots perish and give way, causing a tree to fall. In this article, we will explore why trees fall, and ways you can prevent it from happening.

Why Do Trees Fall?

Root Issues

Newly planted trees and saplings need time for their root structures to establish themselves in the ground. Therefore, small trees are completely vulnerable during the time it takes for them to become established and sufficiently anchored. In the case of older, large trees, if there is too much moisture around the roots, root rot can develop. Root rot is a type of fungus that rots the root system. Trees that are planted too shallow on hard soil which they cannot penetrate through will develop shallow roots. In all these instances, the anchorage weakens which makes the trees susceptible to strong winds during storms.


Roots can be unknowingly damaged if there is construction happening around them. Oftentimes, builders are unaware of how far out and how deep the tree’s root system has spread. Another form of accidental damage is the ground being compacted as part of the construction process. When this happens, the roots are then damaged by the force or smothered. However, sometimes the damage is intentional as the roots are in the way. The solution for busy contractors is to simply cut them, unaware of the impact that the cuts will have on the tree species.

Malicious Weather

Regardless of how old or strong a tree is, there are some forces of nature that no tree can withstand. Raging storms, heavy rain, and lightning are one thing. However, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, and cyclones are quite another. Excessive monsoon-type rain is another major weather problem for trees with weak limbs and undeveloped root systems. As if that isn’t enough for trees to contend with, there is also drought.


Follow these steps to prevent trees from falling into your house or yard.

  • Use stakes to secure newly planted trees and saplings.
  • Water trees slowly and frequently. Let the hose dribble so that the water can saturate an area rather than runoff.
  • Don’t overwater trees. The soil should be moist, not soaking. Mud is a sign of overwatering.
  • Don’t overdo the mulch. Overdoing mulch can cause roots to be shallow, instead of digging down for food and water. Roots can also suffocate when the mulch is too thick. Spread a layer of mulch two to four inches thick around the base of the tree with a radius of approximately two feet. However, don’t let the mulch touch the trunk.

Impact of Tree Falls

Tree falls can have significant impacts on both human environments and natural ecosystems.

Property Damage

One of the most immediate and visible impacts of tree falls is property damage. Trees that fall during storms or due to structural weaknesses can cause extensive damage to homes, buildings, vehicles, fences, and other structures. The weight and force of a falling tree or large branches can lead to roof collapses, broken windows, and structural instability. This damage not only results in considerable financial costs for repairs but also disrupts daily life for affected homeowners and businesses.

Safety Hazards

Tree falls pose serious safety hazards to people in their vicinity. Falling trees and branches can injure or even kill individuals who happen to be nearby. This risk is heightened during storms or high-wind events when trees are more likely to topple unexpectedly.
Proper tree maintenance, including regular inspections and removing hazardous trees or branches, is crucial for mitigating these risks and ensuring public safety.

Environmental Impact

Beyond human environments, tree falls can impact natural ecosystems in various ways:

  • Wildlife Habitats: Fallen trees alter habitats for wildlife, affecting nesting sites, food sources, and shelter. In some cases, tree falls create new habitat niches that benefit certain species while displacing others.
  • Soil Erosion: The removal of trees can increase the risk of soil erosion. Tree roots help bind soil particles together, and their absence can lead to increased runoff and sedimentation in nearby bodies of water.

Aesthetic and Cultural Loss

Trees are often valued for their aesthetic beauty and cultural significance. The loss of mature trees due to falls can diminish the visual appeal of landscapes and urban areas, impacting property values and community aesthetics.

Call an Arborist

Fallen tree branches should be inspected before they are taken away. If they are naturally dry and split, it may be a warning that the tree has a problem. If you are unsure, contact your local arborist at Omaha Tree Service for a diagnosis.


Omaha Tree Services

At Omaha Tree, our mission is to provide tree care services & mulch products that improve the HEALTH, BEAUTY, & SAFETY of our customers’ trees. We recycle all of our wood waste material from the trees we trim and remove in the greater Omaha metro area. The wood waste material is brought back to our 8-acre site at 3606 McKinley Street, where it is processed into a beautiful & consistent mulch product that is local, fresh, and clean. Contact a certified arborist today.