Characterizing branch failure modes

2013 | John Goodfellow, BioCompliance Consulting, Inc.

Structural failure of individual branches within the crowns of trees can result in serious injury to practicing arborists and the general public, as well as cause significant property damage and power outages. Current arboriculture practices focusing on identifying and mitigating branches at elevated risk of failure are largely based on anecdotal and qualitative observation. This project will involve the application of advanced technology to characterize the failure sequence as branches are subjected to increasing loading to the point of fracture. It is expected that the project will result in the development of a foundational model describing in detail the performance of branches under load and failure modes, mechanisms, and sequences. This work will support subsequent work focused on the development of branch condition assessment and risk mitigation practices useful to commercial, municipal, utility arborists. This will fill a known gap in the current body of knowledge regarding structural integrity of trees.

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