It’s not something you’d expect on a dry, sunny afternoon. But last Friday, an Arlington couple was driving along Highland Avenue after having lunch in town when a limb from a tree on private property broke off and fell on their car. 

“It was an ‘Oh crap!’ moment,” said Eric Olson, who was riding with his husband and their dog. “I’m glad we weren’t hurt … but the dog’s a little shaken.” 

Needham Superintendent of Parks and Forestry Ed Olsen said, unfortunately, such scenes are not unexpected or uncommon. “We’re responding to situations like this frequently. In the past few months we’ve gotten three or four calls a week,” he said. His team is called when a tree or limb from private property comes down onto a public road or space. 

Olsen said tree maintenance is often overlooked by homeowners, and it’s a very real safety risk. “A tree may look healthy, but an arborist can see if it’s diseased. They need to be checked to be safe. Otherwise you have a situation like this, where there was unseen rot, and the tree will break in the middle of a calm day.”

With storms increasing in strength, and hurricane season ahead, Olsen urges homeowners not to neglect their trees. “Have a program for your trees, just like you have a maintenance program for other things. Have them checked so it doesn’t become a problem.”

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