What Trees are Most Likely to Fall in the Wind?

While strong enough winds can topple down any tree, some trees are more prone to falling. Depending on different factors, ranging from the size of the tree, the thickness of the trunk, the area where is it is growing – can all affect the likelihood of a tree falling down.

Some trees are much more prone to falling down than others. If a tree is growing in an open field, on loose soil, in really rainy areas, or on mountain slopes then it is much more prone to falling down during strong winds. Tall trees with large canopies and slender trunks are especially prone to falling down during storms.

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What Tree Sizes Are Most Prone to Falling?

You will be surprised to know that trees that look big and intimidating are the ones that might be the most prone to falling.

Large trees have a higher center of gravity. This makes it easier for stronger winds to topple it over. Similarly, it requires more strength from the trunk to support a large canopy.

Trees that are really tall and have a slim trunk are especially more in danger here.

What Type of Trees Are Most Likely to Fall During Strong Winds?

Trees that have large foliage and canopy will act like a giant parachute for the entire tree. Imagine an umbrella during strong winds. A large canopy during strong winds is literally trying to uproot the tree.

Evergreen trees are statistically more likely to fall because their foliage and canopy exist all year round.

Trees whose branches or trunks have already been injured are also much more prone. A tree can take a long time to recover from deep injuries to its trunk, sometimes the tree can also get infested with pests which further weakens the tree.

I have a list of 12 signs that indicate the tree is about to fall.

Which Tree Species Are Considered to Be Prone to Falling Down?

Species which usually grow in moist areas are more likely to fall down. Cedar, White Pine, and White Spruce are some of the species which are more likely to fall down. There are a lot of other species, but these are some of the most common ones.

Does Location of a Tree Affect Its Likelihood to Fall?

Yes! Whether a tree is located on an open field or in the middle of a forest affects its likeliness to fall by a lot.

When a tree is located in a forest, even if it is tall, a lot of the wind force is shielded by other trees. This distributes the stress being taken by the individual trees minimizing the risk of an individual tree falling down.

On the other hand, if strong winds are blowing through an open field, a single standing tree will end up withstanding a much larger force. On top of this, if the tree is tall with a slender trunk, it is much worse.

Similarly, trees which are growing on loose soil, in especially rainy areas, mountain slopes, and in areas where there is deforestation present are much more prone to falling.

How Much Wind Can A Tree Withstand?

Although the breaking point for different trees differs depending on their size, area, root conditions, etc. There is a critical wind speed beyond which no tree trunk can support it no matter what the size of the tree is or the area it is located in.

The maximum speed that a tree can withstand is around 90mph or 132 f/s (42 m/s), at this wind speed, no tree trunk is able to withstand the wind force. At this speed the size of the tree trunk, canopy, or the type of wood is irrelevant. It does not matter if the tree is hardwood, softwood, old, healthy or not. It will break and fall down.

Can You Determine Which Way A Tree Is Going to Fall?

As much as it is tempting to say that we can determine which way a tree is going to fall, it is not always correct. In some situations, where the tree is heavily leaning towards one side, more than 15 degrees, it is relatively easy to predict the way the tree will fall.

On the other hand, if the tree does not have a relative leaning to one side, then a lot of factors come into play.

For example, how the bigger branches of the tree are located, is the soil from one side of the tree is loose, or if the wind during a storm is blowing in one direction only – these will all determine the likelihood for the side the tree is going to fall.

During storms, if we are talking about a perfect tree, with regular foliage, with no infections or prior injuries, growing straight, then the tree is most likely to fall in the same direction the wind is blowing.


There are a number of factors to determine if a tree is likely to fall in a wind. Including but not limited to, the size and length of the trunk, the size of the canopy, is the tree infected with pests or diseases, and last but not least, the location where the tree is growing.

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