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Are Trees Dangerous to Kids & Pets?

Don’t get us wrong— trees are amazing! They provide shade, prevent erosion, look beautiful, and grow for generations, just to name just a few of their incredible benefits. But homeowners in the Pacific Northwest should be aware of the risks trees pose to their kids — both human and furry.

In today’s blog post, our certified tree experts will show you how your trees can hurt your kids and your pets. You’ll also learn how to avoid these dangers and much more.


Climbing and falling

When George Mallory was asked why he climbed Mt. Everest, he famously replied, “because it’s there.” Many kids have the same philosophy when it comes to climbing trees. But parents should be watchful and mindful of the danger posed by falls from even small trees.

Over 100 people are killed every year by falls from trees. While most of these deaths are the result of on-the-job accidents, many kids fall victim as well. Thousands more suffer bumps, bruises, and more serious injuries like broken bones and concussions.

The best thing to do is discourage your child from climbing any tree. Not only is it dangerous to kids but it can damage the trees’ bark and branches, too.


Broken branches and other debris

Here in the Portland area, severe weather can damage a tree, leading to falling branches and even complete collapse of the tree itself. Both are incredibly dangerous situations that can affect both kids and pets. Don’t let your kids, cats, or dogs play outside under trees after:

  • Snowstorms – Ice and snow can weigh down and weaken branches.
  • High winds – Wind storms can snap off tree branches and leave them dangling precariously and ready to fall at any time.
  • Rainy weather – Oversaturated ground can cause even healthy trees to topple over by destabilizing the root system.
  • Heat waves – Hot weather can make branches brittle and more likely to snap off. Long periods of hot dry weather can also affect a tree’s stability and overall health.

The best thing you can to do to protect your family and your trees is to have them regularly inspected and pruned by certified tree experts like those at Northwest Arbor Culture.


Think you know the answer? You might be surprised.
Our experts share what they’ve learned from years of responding to emergency tree service calls.

Read the Post


Insects & Pests

Living trees and old tree stumps can be host to swarms of bees, ants, spiders, and other critters. Cats, dogs, and kids can all be hurt by insect stings and bites. In some cases, a sting or bite can lead to life-threatening allergic reactions. At the very least, ant bites and wasp stings can be very painful!

If you have a dead tree in your yard, have it removed for the safety of your entire family. Keep an eye on living trees for signs of pest infestations like:

  • Visible wasp nests
  • Damage to leaves or bark by insects
  • Unusual growths

Remember that insect infestations can affect the health of the tree, too.


Toxic trees

Most species of trees in Oregon don’t pose a direct threat to kids or most pets. However, horses can be poisoned by:

  • Black walnut trees
  • Maple trees
  • Yew trees (also toxic to humans)

However, just to be safe, keep your kids from eating any leaves or bark from trees. Bark and leaves may contain bacteria, fungus, or other potential hazards.



We specialize in pre-purchase tree inspections. By assessing the health of your trees you may be able to negotiate a lower purchase price by identifying potentially costly problems like:

  • Invasive root systems
  • Decayed and rotting trees
  • Diseased trees

Call us today to learn more: (503) 538-8733



The most serious risk comes not from the trees themselves, but from toxic mushrooms that grow nearby. The shaded and moist ground near the base of a tree makes an ideal habitat for many extremely dangerous mushrooms.

NEVER eat a mushroom you find in your yard unless you are an experienced mushroom forager and know exactly what it is. Many toxic mushrooms are easily confused with mushrooms that are perfectly safe. In Oregon, the most dangerous forms of mushrooms include:

  • Death Cap Mushroom – Can cause liver and kidney failure and death
  • Deadly Galerina – Affects the nervous system and kidneys
  • False Morel – So-named because of its similarity to the delicious Morel, this mushroom can cause diarrhea, dizziness, and even death
  • Destroying Angel – This deadly mushroom contains amatoxins which lead to a slow and painful death

We can’t say this enough: Wild mushrooms can be very dangerous. Keep an eye on your kids and pets to make sure they’re not ingesting them.


How to care for your trees

You can minimize the danger presented to kids and pets by caring for your trees. Here’s a few of our top tree care tips:

  1. Have your trees inspected – Your trees need a check-up to make sure they’re healthy and strong.
  2. Trim and prune large trees – Proper trimming and pruning actually helps improve the tree’s health and longevity.
  3. Remove dead or dying trees – Dead and dying trees are likely to fall or drop branches leading to injuries and possibly even damage to your home.
  4. Water and mulch regularly – Mulch insulates your tree and provides valuable nutrients. Younger trees especially need extra water to take hold and stay healthy. This is very important during the dry summer months here in the Portland area.


Need help with your trees?

portland arborist nw arbor culture

Contact us today for a free estimate from a Certified Arborist.

We’ll take a look at your trees and help you create a tree care and pruning plan that works for you and your family. We’ve been working in the Portland area for decades and there’s no tree service in Portland more committed to customer service than Northwest Arbor Culture.

We’re here to help!

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