Sudden Limb Drop

Dangerous Trees – Sudden Limb Drop

In the Dandenong Ranges; east of Melbourne, a hazardous tree or dangerous tree a large Eucalyptus regnans or Mountain Ash about 4.2 meters from a house front suddenly shed a large limb from a twenty meter height which is called Sudden Limb Drop. The tree was approximately thirty five meters tall.

The proximity of this tree to the house troubled the owner at the time of purchase and he assumed it could be removed.


The local council refused his request.

At 11pm one warm summer night with very light rain falling and no discernible wind, the owner heard a large crack.

He recalls: “Immediately I knew what it was and could hear a whoosing sound as the limb fell and the leaves rustled in the air. I had time to run towards the other end of the house before it hit”.

The images below show the damage done by the sudden limb drop.


The damage to the house totaled over $10,000.00 fortunately covered by insurance, and thankfully no-one was hurt.


The local council suddenly had a change of heart and allowed the removal of this hazardous tree. It is not generally in “normal” conditions trees fail but sudden limb drop is another story.

Sudden Limb Drop, Summer Limb Drop or Summer Branch Drop

Arborists and tree experts are both intrigued and frustrated when trees with no observable defects drop a limb. It is often something an arborist cannot predict.


It is not unique to only Australia or Eucalypts as many tree species all over the world can exhibit sudden limb drop. The case presented may seem typical.


It was late summer with calm weather and had been raining. Rain on the limb and its leaves no doubt increased its weight making it more vulnerable to failure.


Sometimes limbs break at some distance from their union to the stem and have been known to cause fatalities.


Well known arborists have researched and written about Sudden Limb Drop and a search on Google can provide some interesting reading.


Beautiful trees can also be dangerous especially during heavy winds.


Regular inspection of trees is recommended for general health and hazard evaluation.


Landscapes By Design regularly provides such a service.

Contact Us if you have a problem with a neighbouring tree or other tree issues and please remember often sudden limb drop is not predictable.

Dangerous Tree Damage Images

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