We’ve all been there. We hopefully peer out our windows, anxious to see what is or what has happened with that ominous, large tree outside. Maybe you’ve even been prompted on a drive home during a storm as you swerve to avoid trees on the roadways. We hope we are a lucky exception to storm damage, and our trees make it out free and clear.
Even with proper care, Mother Nature can damage healthy trees if storms are severe. However, many occurrences of storm damage to trees happen to trees that have already posed a risk because they were already considered hazardous. As Certified Arborists, we often visit homes and commercial sites where property owners ask us to evaluate their trees for hazards. Most times, property owners aren’t aware of the gravity of the risks already present in their trees.
If you understand and learn how to look for the right clues, you can better evaluate a tree’s chances to withstand wind and storm damage. Here’s a list of questions to ask:
Are there dead branches in the trees?
Are there detached, hanging branches?
Are there rotten, decaying holes in the trees, especially on the trunk or major branches?
Are there fungi (like mushrooms) growing on the base or central parts of the tree?
Has the tree started to lean?
Has much of the root system been disturbed or cut off from construction?
Have trees nearby been removed, leaving this tree more vulnerable to windy conditions?
Has the tree been topped in the past?
Does the tree have very thick growth throughout the tree?
Are branches sagging down near structures or utility lines, or over-extended over them?
Risk factors are calculated on how many of the above you answer “Yes” as well as what potential targets there are nearby. If a tree is in bad shape but is 200 feet away from any structures, etc. it doesn’t pose as much risk. Remember, if a tree is 60 ft. tall, and is 55 feet from the house, it means it could hit the house in an event of falling. If that same tree is within 20 feet of a house, it poses even more risk.
This is why it is extremely important to remove hazardous conditions in trees or to completely remove hazardous trees if warranted. If you are unsure in your diagnosis, be sure to consult with a Certified Arborist to get an expert opinion. In some cases removal is warranted. However, proper pruning of trees can extend the life of a tree as well as lower its potential for hazards. Be careful to choose a tree pruning company that employs Certified Arborists that understand which branches to prune, where to prune them, and how to do this safely.
Taking care of your trees now not only means you may sleep better at night, but it also means you can rest a little easier about what potential damages these trees can cause to passers-by and neighbors. If you have concerns about the trees on your property, please contact us for a free consultation.
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