Boulevard tree failures during wind loading events

Gary Johnson, Chad P Giblin, Ryan Murphy, Eric North, Aaron Rendahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Wind loading events vary in their intensity and degree of damage inflicted on urban infrastructure, both green and gray. Damage to urban trees can begin with wind speeds as low as 25 miles per hour, especially when those trees harbor defects that predispose them to structural failures. The tree damage triangle integrates the three main factors that influence tree failures during wind loading events, namely the site characteristics, the (wind) loading event and any defects of the trees in question. The degree of damage that trees experience is generally a function of these factors overlapping each other. For instance, when the potential damage from wind loading events is exacerbated by poor tree architecture and compromised site conditions, the likelihood of significant damage is realized. Two studies on the damage to urban trees and the predictability of damage are reviewed; one study is a long-term gathering of wind loading events and accompanying damage to trees while the other is a case study of one storm in one city on one day. Both studies revealed critical pre-existing conditions that left trees vulnerable to whole tree losses: large trees in limited boulevard widths and severed roots as a result of sidewalk repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-269
Number of pages11
JournalArboriculture and Urban Forestry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the June 13, 2013 storm damage research was provided in part by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Urban Forestry Outreach Research and Extension lab and nursery, University of Minnesota. We are grateful for the cooperation of the 035B )orestry Division and the City of 0inneapolis Department of Public Works during the course of the June 13, 2013 storm research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Society of Arboriculture. All rights reserved.


  • Construction Damage
  • Tree Architecture
  • Wind Loading Events


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