It has been hot and dry recently with no major storms to speak of, so why have we been so busy cleaning up “storm damage”? That question has been asked since at least the 1880’s, and unfortunately no definitive answer has been found. On calm hot summer days large branches will fall out of trees for no apparent reason, a phenomenon known as summer branch drop or sudden limb drop. Many of these branches appear to be healthy with no signs of decay, insects, or poor structure. They drop without warning, and unlike with snow, ice, or wind there seems to be no predictors.
Summer branch drop can affect a large number of tree types including but not limited to Maple, Elm, Ash, Oak, Pecan, and Walnut all of which we have seen recently. Mature trees are usually affected most by summer branch drop, and may drop branches as large as a meter in diameter.
Breakage is likely to increase when any and all of these factors are added, but these do not account for all cases of summer branch drop.
The main reason limbs healthy in appearance break is unfortunately speculative due to lack of research. A certified Arborist can identify some or many risks but unfortunately we may not be able to address them all.
310 Congress Street, Emporia, KS 66801 • 5709 SW 21st St., Suite 108, Topeka, KS 66604