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Plan Early To Prepare Your Trees For Winter

It’s not too early to begin preparing your trees for winter. We have been known to have high wind events as early as September or ice and snow in October. These storms often catch property owners unaware and unprepared, resulting in tree damage and, possibly, damage to homes and cars.

Some trees that look perfectly fine from the outside may be hazardous inside. Trees can rot from the inside out. Depending on the amount of good wood remaining, rotting trees can live for many years. Monitoring how much wood is healthy requires sophisticated instruments, which arborists use to pinpoint decay and calculate the amount of healthy wood remaining. From this, we can calculate how hazardous the tree really is and determine its potential for failure.

Even healthy trees that have heavy crowns can break in a storm. Arborists can prune crowns to thin them and reduce wind resistance. Letting the wind pass right through will reduce the chance of breakage in an autumn storm.

Early ice and snow storms wreak so much havoc because leaves, and sometimes fruit, are still on trees. Trees have all they can do to support their weighty branches. Add the additional weight of snow and/or ice and it may exceed the limit limbs can support. Deciding which limbs should be removed for storm damage mitigation is a job for a professional.

Neither diagnosis nor tree work is a do-it-yourself project. It’s dangerous work that should be done only by people with the specialized training, education, equipment and insurance to protect them and you. We hate to hear about someone learning this the hard way. Yet it happens all the time.

A recent issue of the trade magazine Tree Care Industry reported on 17 accidents. Five tree workers and four non-tree worker were killed and seven tree workers and one non-tree worker were seriously injured. This was a good month. We don’t want you to be one of these statistics.

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