VDOT asks public's help in reporting dangerous trees

Albert Carl Roeth III was killed when this massive tree fell on his car in Great Falls in July. Photo: Gail Pennybacker/ABC7

After a tree fell and killed a driver in Great Falls last month, the Virginia Department of Transportation says there are millions of trees along roadways and in neighborhoods that could pose a threat.

But they can't possibly check them all.

"We don't have a program in place to inspect every single tree in Northern Virginia," says Jennifer McCord, a VDOT spokesperson. "The trees that we're concerned about are the ones along roadways that pose a risk to drivers."

VDOT says they rely heavily on residents to speak up when they see a rotting tree that could pose a danger. Splits in the bark, branches with no leaves, even ants can be warning signs.

For arborist David Wesley, spotting a rotting tree is easy.

"Seeing brown leaves on a tree, that's pretty easy, but most people don't look up," Wesley says.

He says a quick glance at your front lawn can keep your home safer.

"Being proactive and taking care of a tree is important," he says.

Potential tragedies might be prevented with a phone call to VDOT.

To report a dangerous tree, call 1-800-367-ROAD.