How to spot a tree in danger of falling

- The collapse of a huge tree in Central Park raises questions about the health and safety of other large trees around the city. Fox 5 spoke to an expert about how you can tell if a tree in your neighborhood might be in trouble.

Dr. Carsten Glaeser is an arborist. His job is to inspect trees in danger of toppling over and notify the city. He didn't have to go far to find trouble. On one city block in Flushing, Queens, he spotted three trees in imminent danger of falling over.

Glaeser said you should first look for cracks in the trunk. Cracks suggest the tree has structural defects.

Second, look for decay. Check up and down the tree for brown leaves, falling leaves, and dead branches. Look for decayed debris at the base of the tree. Hit the lower trunk with a mallet and listen for a hollow sound.

The tree that fell in Central Park Tuesday was in the same exact area of a devastating accident in 2009 when a 100-pound tree limb fell onto a Google executive rendering him partially paralyzed. He settled with the city for $11 million. His lawsuit was one of almost a dozen that the city has faced in the last decade because of fallen trees.

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