The recent wind beat up many of the trees in our region. Some handled it better than others. If your trees survived, you’re lucky. But that doesn’t mean your trees are invincible. It means that you shouldn’t press your luck. This wasn’t the first storm and it won’t be the last. In fact if you haven’t been outside there is snow accumulating in the trees right now.
After the stressful couple of weeks that your trees have just experienced you should have your trees inspected by one of our Certified Arborists. Although your trees may still be standing, there could be damage up in the crown, in the root zone and inside the branches. If your yard is littered with broken branches they may have left jagged stubs, which are unhealthy. The jagged ends won’t allow the remaining stub to heal (callus) properly, becoming an entry point for insects and disease organisms. Not all broken branches may be in the yard. Some may still be hanging precariously up in the tree, where they could fall on somebody.
During the inspection, our arborists will also determine whether the crown should be pruned to lessen wind resistance and uneven weight distribution. Most of the trees that fell in the last storm were uprooted. This is because tree roots spread outward rather than downward. Water pockets form below the roots and, as the water freezes and thaws, it can loosen the soil around the roots. Add to that hurricane-force winds and a heavy crown and the tree cannot help but fail.
Some trees that suffered damage can still be saved with creative, professional pruning. I cannot emphasize enough that pruning and tree work is not a do-it-yourself job. It’s the most dangerous profession in the United States. Professionals are trained to work on toppled trees and those near power lines. Local hospitals treated many chain saw and other tree related injuries resulting from property owners trying to do their own tree clean up after the latest wind storm.
When we inspect, we’ll check for rot that reduces the tree’s ability to withstand high winds. Mushroom-like growths, especially around the root zone, are the most obvious sign of rot. However, we also use instruments to measure the amount of internal rot and to calculate the tree’s chance of survival. We can then advise you on whether it should be removed and just monitored.
We also look for radial cracking, especially in smaller branches. High winds or heavy loads on branches can cause them to break inside. The only obvious sign is droopy branches. If you cut a cross section, it will look like a sliced pie with cracks radiating out from the center but not quite reaching the edge of the branch. This cracking weakens the branch.
An inspection and any repair work now can result in substantial savings after the next wind storm.