From flooding to extreme winds, storms can wreak havoc, causing broken branches, uprooted trees, and even safety risks. However, there are steps you can take to lower the chance of damage during a storm – and they don’t take long.
“With a few simple steps, homeowners can do important care and maintenance to keep their trees and property safe and secure in a severe storm,” says George Barth, ISA certified arborist at Hartney Greymont, a Davey company. Before the storm hits, Barth recommends this 4-Step Tree Safety Checklist:
4-Step Tree Safety Checklist
- Do a Visual Health Check – Inspect your trees for any of the following signs:
- Dead Wood or Decay– Dead trees and large, dead branches can fall at any time.
- Cracks – Deep splits through the bark extend into the wood of the tree.
- Heavy Canopies – Excessively thick branches and leaves catch more wind during stormy weather, upping the risk of branch breakage and uprooting.
- Root problems – Without strong roots, trees are more likely to be uprooted in stormy weather. Nearby construction may sever large roots or compact the soil, causing issues.
- Poor tree architecture – excessive leaning of the tree, or branches growing out of proportion with the rest of the tree crown may indicate general weakness or structural imbalance.
- Ask an Expert. Did something look concerning during your visual health check? Call a certified arborist. These experts can address the problems you see – plus risks hidden to the untrained eye – and they know what issues pose a risk and can be addressed with proper pruning. By pruning before the storm, you can reduce the chances of downed limbs – or worse, trees that split or uproot.
- Boost the Roots. Trees with healthier roots are more likely to survive severe storms. To improve your trees’ root system,regularly feed your trees. When you deliver essential nutrients regularly, your trees become better anchored and overall healthier. Also water your trees deeplywhen needed and keep them mulched (but avoid ‘Volcano mulching’ or piling mulch too high and covering the trunk!)
- Plant Storm-Smart. While no tree is storm proof, native trees typically survive storms better than exotic, imported trees. They’ve stood the test of time and know how to weather Massachusetts storms. Also, trees grouped in sets of five or more, rather than lone trees, manage intense storms better.
Severe storms and tornadoes are unpredictable and intense. The higher the wind speed, the more likely trees will fail. High wind, tornadoes, and intense flooding can uproot or destroy a tree — no matter how well prepared you are.
Once the storm passes, make it a priority to check your trees. Although defective trees are dangerous, not all of them need to be removed immediately, and some defects can be treated to prolong the life of the tree. And most importantly, when in doubt call a certified arborist like Hartney Greymont in Quincy.