Sudden drop in temperature may be causing 'sudden limb drop'

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When there is a sudden drop in temperature on a very hot day, trees are more at risk of "sudden limb drop."

It's something we expect to happen in the winter, especially during a storm. But arborists say the phenomenon of trees dropping their limbs is actually more prevalent during the summer. And we've seen a couple of prominent examples just this week in the East Bay.

On Sunday when Concord resident Liz Taylor heard the noise of her giant oak tree dropping a huge limb squarely in the middle of her backyard, she thought it was another earthquake.

"I heard a bunch of cracking and I couldn't figure out what it was," Taylor said. "A friend of mine came over to take a look at it and I said a branch has fallen off the tree and he came over and said 'Oh no, that does not describe the situation. This is bigger than most trees.'"

An oak tree limb also damaged an expensive barbecue at a home in Walnut Creek on Tuesday.

"It's called summer limb drop. That's what it's called in the book, but it's been argued sudden limb drop," explained John Traverso, an arborist with Traverso Tree Service in Walnut Creek. He said it's not clear if the phenomenon is drought related, but it certainly seems to happen a lot especially when hot weather suddenly turns cool.

"We tend to see when it's really hot weather, getting up in the high 90s, 100 degree weather, typically if it's over 100 for sure, and we get a sudden drop in temperature like in the afternoon or evening - if it drops like 20 degrees - our phone rings off the hook," Traverso said.

The best advice for homeowners, who suspect their tree might be a candidate for sudden limb drop, is to have it checked out by a professional.

Related Topics:
weathersummerdroughtaccidenttree fallnatureheatConcord
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