The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said a group of kids was playing on the South Jay Way property when a dead tree fell directly on the boy.
“These kids were just out playing on either a slack-line or zip-line when one of the two trees gave way,” Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jacki Kelley said.
Those two trees were reportedly trimmed of their canopies but were left standing, despite being dead.
“On the side of safety, it’s always a good idea just to remove it,” David Boswell said. “You never want to rely on a tree that’s dead or starting to go into decline for structural support to do things like slack lines or tree houses.”
‘Once the tree’s taken down, it’s dead’
Boswell runs Ross Tree Company and said it’s not uncommon for homeowners to ask him to leave tall trunks when removing a dead tree.
“Once the tree’s taken down, it’s dead,” he said. “It’s going to start to rot and decay, and you’re going to lead to an ultimate failure.”
He said things like slacklines, which are used to walk on a rope between two trees, only exacerbate that decline.
“When you have those kinds of tensions and that kind of pressure, especially with a rubberband unit from a slackline, it’s not going to be able to support that, and eventually it will fall,” Boswell said.
He recommends avoiding trees altogether, even ones that are living.
“With a living tree, you run the risk of actually damaging the tree,” he said.