Equipment » Structural Assessment of Trees

ENSPEC can assess tree structure and stability using a static test that loads the tree and accurately measures the trunk strength and assesses root plate anchorage in the ground. This method of measurement is predominately used for dead trees.
ENSPEC Structural Assessment of Trees
The static test can provide evidence that confirms whether or not a tree or stump is stable so that informed decisions can be made as to whether it can be safely retained or should be removed. When conducted by a highly competent operator the test is non-destructive and no damage is caused to the tree or root system.

The level of operator competence is crucial to the successful application of the static test. ENSPEC only employs fully trained and experienced operators so that safety is always maintained at a high level and the test carefully controlled and monitored so that loads are kept within safe limits.

Dead stumps and trees that are pruned and kept as habitat trees require testing to confirm that the supporting roots are still sound and the tree stable. As dead roots gradually decay in the ground and the root anchorage becomes less secure, the tree or stump can become unsafe and at risk of falling over. This is a gradual process that occurs over several years.


ENSPEC Structural Assessment of Trees
The ENSPEC operator applies the static pull to the tree using a rope that is attached at one end to the tree, approximately half way up a trunk, and the other end to a winch on the ground. A series of controlled pulling loads are applied by the winch and the pulling force and tree strength are carefully measured using calibrated instruments so that the test is always kept within limits of structural safety.  During the test, electronic instruments monitor the loads and forces, and the operator constantly monitors the tree to make sure that no damage occurs. At the conclusion of the test the load is removed and the tree returns to its original position.

ENSPEC staff record and analyse the structural data from the test to confirm the stability of the tree or stump and an expert assessment is made about the risk of failure. A professional report is then prepared and provided to the client. The report assists managers to make informed decisions regarding the safe retention or necessary removal of the tree or stump.

Annual static testing and reporting allows managers to monitor tree or stump stability over a period time so that any decline in stability is detected early, and risk management decisions can be made and actioned prior to a possible tree or stump failure.

ENSPEC appreciates the ecological benefits of retaining trees for habitat and believes static testing will allow more trees to be safely retained for this purpose.

Picture of a static pull test on a Brisbane tree to assess stability and root plate strength. The test was carefully monitored with electronic load cell and kept within safe limits. The test is non-destructive and does not damage the tree.

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