Trees are at risk when there is heavy rainfall. During heavy storms, some trees stand tall while others fall to the ground. Several reasons result in fallen trees after heavy rain. 

Many trees end up falling to the ground primarily because of their roots. If there is an issue within the tree’s roots, storms and heavy rains may easily be able to topple the tree over into the ground. Additionally, soggy soil, wind direction, and dead limbs may cause the tree to fall.

Having mentioned some of the reasons trees may fall after heavy rain, we will now take a deeper look into each of these reasons. Keep on reading to find out more! 

Why Do Trees Fall Over After Heavy Rain?

Not all trees fall over due to heavy rain; however, some are more vulnerable to it than others. Therefore, it is essential to know why this occurs so that adequate prevention measures can be taken against the potential damage caused by fallen trees. 

Soggy Soil

When heavy rainfall occurs, trees planted in wet soil are more likely to fall off when compared to trees planted in drier soil. This is also called windthrow. Landscaping is among the main reasons a root system becomes more saturated as drainage around trees is altered.

Another reason why soil becomes soggy is when new houses are built. House foundations often result in the disruption of underground water movement. However, you can prevent this by improving the drainage system with pipes. Surface contouring can help redirect water away from the trees, preventing the soil from becoming soggy.

Overwatering also results in soggy soil. Trees prefer growing in moist soil but not soaking. Trees are more vulnerable to toppling over when the soil has higher water content. 

Moreover, root rot is a type of fungus that also results in soggy soil. This happens when too much moisture is present in the root zone, increasing the chances of the tree falling over.  

Root Damage

Many of the activities carried out by humans at regular intervals cause damage to the root system of a tree. These damages often result in the roots of a tree being cut. Some of these activities include installing utility services by a newly built road, a footpath, and a driveway extension.

Here’s why the critical root zone of a tree is damaged when driveways and footpaths are built in the area; builders use compacted soil which can clutter the tree roots as time passes. Thus, when the root system struggles due to soil compaction, it is more vulnerable to falling over due to heavy rain and strong winds.  

A root collar excavation can open the critical root zone of a tree using specialized air tools. Arborists can assess root issues and fix them accordingly. 

Adding to that, the roots of trees and trees, in general, take a long time to respond to any external disturbances around them. Therefore, when a tree falls because of heavy rainfall, it may have occurred due to something that happened over ten to fifteen years ago. This means that sometimes, there’s just no helping it. 

Wind Direction

Trees can support themselves against high-speed winds by growing their roots in a particular pattern. For bigger trees, in particular, most of the supporting root structure extends deep underground towards the windward side of the trunk.

Consequently, if wind accompanying the rainfall appears to come at very high speeds from an uncommon direction, trees are more likely to fall over. Furthermore, even if the winds approach the tree from its usual direction, it may fall over because of damaged windward side roots.

All these risks continue to increase as the climate worsens increasingly. Climate change makes winds approach trees from unusual and new directions

Dead Limbs

Another reason why trees fall over during heavy rainfall is because of dead limbs. The more dying tree limbs with little foliage that a tree has, the more vulnerable it is to falling over because of a storm. You can reduce the risk by removing dead wood from the canopy. Doing this will leave behind healthy limbs in the tree so it may not fall over.

Moreover, trees are also at risk of falling over when strong winds accompany rainfall. This happens when trees have “co-dominant stems.” These stems are V-shaped, about the same diameter, and all grow out of the same place on the tree trunk.

If you believe that some trees of this type are planted on your property, it is best to get them checked quickly for inspection. In doing so, you can assess their danger and take adequate precautions accordingly. 

Shallow Roots

This is another cause for trees falling over because of rain. When trees get planted in hard ground, it is harder for the root system to find its way through the ground and form roots at the required depth. Shallow roots also come about when trees are watered incorrectly.

If the soil is watered frequently for short intervals, the water will only be able to reach the top of the soil. Consequently, the tree roots will grow shallow because there is a lack of sufficient water for the roots to grow to their optimum size.

As a result, because shallow roots cannot provide a secure anchor for trees, they leave the trees at a higher risk of falling over from the rain.

Pruning The Tree Structure

Another reason why trees may fall over is because of a lack of pruning. Therefore, it is important to prune and trim your trees regularly until they mature. In doing so, you will be able to identify any abnormalities and issues in the growth of your tree.

Following this, you can get help from certified arborists who specialize in the maintenance of trees. They can aid you in strategically pruning your trees.


We can observe that several reasons lead to trees falling over because of heavy rain, including soggy soil and the dead limbs of trees. However, if addressed promptly, these factors can be reduced so that further toppling over trees can be controlled.