Residents are responsible to have trees inspected and make sure they hire a credible tree expert – the best way to avoid tree failures – remind Oak Bay staff after a branch snapped into traffic last week.
Oak Bay motorists were stopped in their tracks late Wednesday (Aug. 19) afternoon when a massive branch from a Garry oak came down in the intersection of Granite Road at Foul Bay Avenue.
With the branch catching on overhead power lines, Oak Bay police and firefighters were quickly on the scene to steer residents and drivers clear of the intersection.
“The big failure on the corner of Foul Bay and Granite was partly associated with a very old poor pruning cut,” said Chris Hyde-Lay, parks manager for Oak Bay.
Many speculated the tree suffered from sudden limb failure.
“It’s a rarity. It happens with a whole bunch of tree species, Garry oak being one of them,” Hyde-Lay said. “It’s still something people don’t really know why it happens.”
He added that limb failure is found in both overly dry, and overly wet trees, but is unusual and runs the gamut of tree species.
“Tree owners have to understand that trees sometimes have limb failure and they’re not predictable. In saying that, most trees are pretty well-behaved.”
No tree is perfect and a structural flaw will most times offer some sort of remediation. It’s not a death sentence for the tree, Hyde-Lay said.
“You want to inspect the tree for any structural issue. A good arborist will be able to tell you if it’s been poorly pruned in the past. The bark gives clues if there’s an internal issue or crack,” he said. “Be really aware of the overall health of the trees in their yard. So often the tree will give you a clue that it’s not happy.”