Who is Responsible for a Fallen Tree? 9 Things You Need to Know When a Tree Falls

Picture of Chris Yu
Chris Yu

Chris Yu has been helping home and business owners with tree services for over 12+ years and is dedicated to providing relevant, proper tree information for everyone.

Table of Contents

Here’s an age-old question: if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Many people are still grappling with an answer without success. But the sound isn’t the only thing you need to think about when a tree falls!

There are nearly 300 billion trees across America but each year we lose a significant number of these. In cities alone, 36 million trees come down every year. While some may be chopped down, a fallen tree can be a massive obstruction and leaving it is dangerous. 

So what should you do with fallen trees? 

Well, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Read on to find out exactly what to do with a tree that falls down.

1. Find Out Who is Responsible for the Tree

It’s important to establish who is responsible for the fallen tree, as they will be in charge of its removal.

In domestic cases, the responsibility lies with the person who has the tree on their land. In contrast, trees in public spaces or along roads are often maintained by the state or city.

If you have any trees on your property, it’s your responsibility to maintain these properly to lower the risk of them falling.

2. Assess Any Damage

When a tree comes down it can cause a lot of damage, especially if it’s a big one!

Before you do anything else it’s important to assess what this damage is. Make sure to get photos of everything you see.

This could help you make an insurance claim if you need to. But it could also protect you from a neighbor’s claim if your tree fell on their property.

3. Explore Why It Fell

Understanding why the tree fell might not seem like the greatest priority at the time. However, it could be valuable information if you have to make a claim for damages.

Any tree owner has a responsibility to maintain their trees properly to avoid them falling down. If a tree dies or becomes diseased then you should remove it before it falls. There are lots of things that indicate that a tree is dying, including: 

  • Brown or yellow leaves that are brittle when they should be thriving.
  • Lots of broken branches
  • More branches coming down than normal
  • Missing bark
  • Holes caused by boring insects
  • Slimy or broken roots
  • The tree tilting off at an angle

Disease isn’t the only reason why a tree might fall. Building too near trees can damage the roots and make them unstable.

Before you remove a fallen tree you should try to spot any signs as to why it might have fallen. These will still be fresh so you should be able to find them easily. This could be vital to making a successful damages claim.

4. Put Safety First Around a Fallen Tree

If a tree falls it can still pose a danger to people, even once it’s hit the ground.

This is especially true if it’s blocking a road. If this happens you should let the authorities know as soon as possible to avoid accidents.

Wherever the tree falls you should block it off to avoid people climbing on it before you go about removing it.

5. Remove It

Clearing away a fallen tree is no easy task. It can take a long time, involves heavy lifting and isn’t something you should try to do on your own. 

The easiest way to do this is by breaking down the tree into much smaller parts and removing these. To do this, you’ll need a good quality chainsaw. This is a dangerous piece of equipment, so don’t use it unless you really know what you’re doing.

6. Speak to a Professional

If you’re not sure how best to get rid of a tree then it’s worth bringing in a professional. They will be able to carry out the job quickly and safely.

This removes the risk of you causing further damage while trying to get rid of the tree.

7. Explore How You Could Use It

It might not feel like there are many silver linings when you’re faced with getting rid of a fallen tree. But there are plenty of ingenious ways you could put your tree to good use. 

If you have a fire at home, you could save money on firewood by chopping it down. Or you could use it for some creative landscaping in your garden.

8. Check Out Lumber Demand

Depending on what type of tree falls and the condition it’s in, you may be able to make some money off your fallen tree. 

Speak to a lumber merchant about how much they’d be willing to pay for your tree’s timber. They may even be willing to come and take the tree away themselves! For this, they’ll want the tree to be in good condition, so this is a good option if your tree has fallen due to storm damage.

But remember, you can’t sell a tree to a lumber merchant if it isn’t yours! You could get in serious trouble trying to turn a profit on a state-owned oak.

9. Give Back to Nature

Last but by no means least, try to think about how you could use your tree to give back to nature. This is the best way to naturally make the most of your fallen tree.

If the wood is already rotting you can throw this in with your other garden scraps and use it to make compost. It may take a while to break down but the earth will thank you for it! After all, out in the wild, it’s nature’s job to get rid of fallen trees.

The Bottom Line

A fallen tree might seem like a bit for a disaster for a homeowner but there are lots of ways to deal with the problem quickly and safely. Keep these tips in mind and you can’t go far wrong.

For professional assistance getting rid of a fallen tree at your home, get in touch with an experienced tree service today. We’re here to help!

Don’t Stop Here

There's More To Explore!