Today, I’ll be discussing tree inspection tools.

Trees are an important part of nature.

They can beautify any landscape and they help us clean our air. However, tree owners need to ensure their trees are in good health and pose no threat to their immediate environments.

For this reason, carrying out a tree inspection is important, as it can save the tree, as well as keep the people and property around it safe. Here is what to pay for a tree inspection.

Inspections cannot be done effectively without the right tools. So what are these apparatuses used in inspecting these natural beauties?

What is tree inspection?

A tree inspection is simply an examination carried out by professional arborists on a tree. During the inspection, the arborist will observe the tree’s structure and determine how sound it is.

The branches, leaves, and bark are among the major parts of the tree that will be inspected.

Expert Tools Used For Inspection

The tools used for tree inspection are determined by the area of the tree the arborist is inspecting, as well as the complexity of the inspection.

This is why I will split the tree inspection tools into two groups – The simple tree inspection tools and the advanced tree inspection tools.

Simple Tree Inspection Tools

Below are the basic tree inspection tools an arborist will use when inspecting your tree.

  1. A steel probe

A steel probe is a long and slim tool used to check how deep tree cavities are.

  1. Binoculars

Binoculars are goggle-like apparatuses used to improve vision from a far distance.

These tools also are handy for tree inspection, as they can be used to examine the tree canopy and identify the problems it has without having to climb up.

Among the things, arborists ls try to determine with binoculars are branches growing across each other and the extent of pest infestations at the canopy area.

The advantage of this tool is that it spares the arborist the time and risks associated with tree climbing.

  1. A rake

When inspecting the base of a tree trunk, the arborist must have a clear view. A vision of the lower trunk can be obstructed by fallen leaves and twigs, and they have to be removed.

This is where a rake comes in, as it is used to pull away all the obstructing leaves, twigs, excessive mulch, and any other debris blocking the arborist’s view.

  1. Hand trowel

It is not uncommon for trees to have decays on their trunks in areas that are below the soil surface.

If an arborist has any reason to suspect such a decay, then they will excavate around the base of the tree trunk to get a visual of the decay.

The tool commonly used to do this is a hand trowel. A shovel can also be used, but that would be unnecessary if the arborist has no intention of digging more than afoot.

  1. Measuring tape

If a tree is suspected to be hazardous, and the arborist is considering felling it, then the entire diameter of the tree must be measured.

Knowing the dynamics of the tree will help to determine where and how the cuts should be made, and the area the trunk will cover when it is taken down.

In this instance, a measuring tape is an ideal tool to use.

  1. A mallet

Decayed or infested trees may be hollow around some areas, due to the digging activities of insect pests and birds.

To check for hollowness, an arborist can use a small mallet to strike the areas where they suspect have been compromised.

As they strike, they will place their ears close to the trunk and listen closely. They will use the mallet all around the trunk and mark the hollow areas.

Advanced Tree Inspection Tools

While simple tree inspection tools can help arborists determine the state of a tree, advanced tools can get the job done faster.

However, not all arborists use these advanced tools for inspection. And the ones that do will charge higher inspection fees than the ones that don’t.

Below are the advanced tools used for a tree inspection.

  1. A Resistograph

Infested trees are usually characterized by decay and fungus growth, some of which are visible on the surface of the trunk. However, not all decays are visible on the surface, as some of the rot may be taking place inside the trunk or roots.

This is where a resistograph can be helpful.

A resistograph is a state-of-the-art machine that does not only identifies internal tree decay but also determines the extent of the decay.

When arborists use this machine, the results they get will provide a well-detailed guide as they advise the homeowner regarding cutting down the tree.

Some cities in the United States like Decatur and Atlanta require that a resistograph test be taken to determine whether a tree removal permit will be granted or not.

If you live in such cities, and you intend to cut your tree down due to suspicions of internal decay, then you will need to hire an arborist that uses a resistograph.

  • How Do Resistographs Work?

A resistograph is equipped with a 1/16 diameter, 20-inch long stainless steel drill bit, and it can penetrate the tree trunk thanks to the power generated by built-in gear.

As the drill bit is pushed inside the tree, the tree’s resistance is displayed on the resistograph’s electronic screen. After taking a look at the results, the arborist will be able to determine if the tree is decayed, hollow, or solid.

If a flat line is displayed on the screen, then it means the tree didn’t pose any resistance to the drill.

On the other hand, if the lines on the resistograph screen are jagged, then it means the tree is resisting the drill force as a result of strong, solid wood.

  • Will A Resistograph Damage My Tree?

It is normal for homeowners to be worried about the well-being of their tree as the resistograph drill pierces through. However, there’s nothing to worry about, as drilling a tree with a resistograph is barely invasive.

Besides the little hole it makes in the trunk, there is no other damage it can cause to your tree, hence no long-term damage.

As for the hole made by the resistograph’s drill, the tree will heal itself and seal it off in a few years as it continues to grow.

  • Where Do You Drill With A Resistograph?

Arborists usually drill the lower part of the tree trunk, as well as the root flares (the parts where the roots shoot out from the trunk).

Arborists can also drill the tree from two points if the problem doesn’t seem too major. But they can drill more holes in more problematic situations.

In some cases, the part where a big tree branch connects with the upper parts of the trunk might need to be drilled if the arborist suspects there is any rot in that area.

These suspicions usually arise when mushrooms and cavities are visible in those areas.

  • How Much Does Resistograph Testing Cost?

The cost of resistograph tests varies among tree inspection services, so you’ll have to make some inquiries to be sure. But on average, you can expect to pay between $150 to $250 for a full resistograph test.

The arborist will also charge around $25 per drilling, and possibly a fee for a written report.

  1. Data-keeping software

Having a thorough knowledge of a tree’s history can go a long way in maintaining its health for as long as the tree remains standing.

And while tree inspectors can have a hard copy log containing all the tree’s previous inspection results, data-keeping software will make record-keeping a whole lot easier.

Just like resistographs, data-keeping software is commonly used by big tree servicing companies, which usually charge more for tree inspection than smaller companies.

With state-of-the-art data-keeping software, arborists can store vital multi-visit information such as the tree’s location, photographs of the tree per inspection, visible signs of infestation (like decays and pest insect nests), branches, trunk, and roots.

A data-keeping software also stores as many findings as the arborist makes per visit, and can calculate the risk of the trees, as well as its current value.

The main advantage of using software for tree inspection is that it can help the arborist diagnose whatever problems a tree is having, prescribe accurate treatments, and generate reports per visit.

Where To Buy Tree Inspection Tools

Tree inspection tools can be bought at hardware stores, especially the ones that are specialized in forestry hardware.


Inspecting your trees regularly, or when you suspect an infestation is vital in maintaining its sound health. The tools mentioned in this article will make the job easier, as well as produce better results.

I trust this article on tree inspection tools has been helpful.

Thanks for reading!

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