Peter Gerstenberger: Hi! I'm Peter Gerstenberger, Senior Advisor with the Tree Care Industry Association, here talking to you about tree care basics. Right now, we want to talk about storm damage to trees.
Thankfully, there are some preventative measures we can take to reduce the likelihood of storm damage occurring in trees. There are also some measures we can take after the fact to come in and restore those trees to their former beauty and value in your landscape.
Many shade and ornamental trees are damaged throughout the year by wind storms, lightning, and ice or snow accumulations. Damage usually consists of a few broken branches. However, more sever damage, such as splitting or pulling apart of branch unions, removal of large areas of bark, twisting and splitting of the trunk, or even uprooting pose possible dangers.
In every area of the country, there are always a few tree species that are very susceptible to storm damage. Typically, these are fast-growing and have brittle wood that is easily broken. These rapidly-growing trees cause considerable amount of damage to homes, cars, buildings and utility lines each year.
Over the years, growing trees will catch more wind and become heavier. Larger trees will also affect an increased area, should they or their larger limbs fall. This means that power lines, homes, and other structures that might not have been threatened a few years ago, might suddenly be under threat by a tree that has grown.
Preparing trees for these natural disasters is a must, and should be done well in advance of the stormy season. To help ease these dangers, have a professional arborist evaluate your trees. You can look at the trees for the following warning signs: wires in contact with tree branches, dead or partially attached limbs hung up in the higher branches that could fall and cause damage or injury, cracked stems and branch forks that could cause catastrophic failure of a tree section.
Fallen or partially uprooted trees put pressure on other trees beneath them. Tight V-shape forks, which are much more prone to failure than open U-shaped ones, and heaving soil at the tree base, another potential indicator of an unsound root system.
Next, we're going to look at what you can do to detect early on some of the problems that can occur in trees.