A tree with structural defects that are likely to cause failure is considered a "high risk or hazardous tree" if it can strike a target. A target can be a vehicle, building, or a place where people gather such as a bench, picnic table, trail, or fire pit. To ensure you have a safe environment in your backyard woods, you should learn to recognize hazardous defects in trees and take corrective actions.
Not all corrective actions should be attempted by you. Simply put, evaluating trees for hazardous defects can be a complex process and either a professional forester or arborist should undertake many of the suggested corrective actions. You should do only the things that fit comfortably within your skill level and leave the rest to the professionals.
Still, you should have a basic understanding of the inspection process and how to size up your backyard forest to make it a safer to visit and a healthier place for trees to grow. It is especially important to inspect areas where there is potential heavy traffic and where property can be damaged. Your forest needs to be inspected every year and after severe storms. These inspections will allow you to detect defects and correct them before they pose significant risks to personal safety and property.