7 Hazards to Watch Out For After a Storm

7 Hazards to Watch Out For After a Storm

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

While storms can be a welcome break from the heat or much needed water for a garden, they can wreak havoc after they’ve left — downing trees, breaking limbs and even causing harm.

Once a storm subsides, make it a priority to check landscape trees. Keeping trees healthy, pruned and structurally sound helps minimize accidents before the storm.

Trees maintained throughout the year are stronger. Healthy trees can hold their ground in almost any weather, especially heavy winds and downpours.

Poorly maintained trees can become a problem. Regularly check trees for broken, damaged or leaning trunks, branches or limbs. Some maintenance is best left to the professionals. Check for the following signs to keep your home safe.

7 Signs Your Tree Needs Attention:

  1. Dead wood – Dead trees and branches can fall at any time. Look for leafless branches when others have plenty of green leaves. Another sign of dead wood is old bark that has mostly fallen and hasn’t been replaced with new bark — instead there is only smooth wood underneath.
  2. Cracks – Storms can cause branches to twist, bend and crack. Check for deep splits in the bark that extend into the wood of the tree or internal or external cavities. 
  3. Decay – Soft wood or cavities where wood is missing is a sign of decay. In time, decay will continue to cause structural problems.
  4. Weak branch unions – When two or more branches intersect together on the same trunk a weak union is created. The bark can’t hold the branches together, and the upperside of the branch is unable to secure itself to the trunk.
  5. Broken Limbs – Assess the crown of damaged tree to check for large, broken limbs. Proper pruning thins the tree canopy, allowing wind to blow through it instead of against it as though it were a sail.
  6. Root problems – High winds can cause trees to rock, even causing the severing of roots in some cases. Check to see if a tree is leaning to tell if it’s been affected. Wilting is also an obvious sign a tree’s roots are damaged.
  7. Poor tree architecture – This is characterized by excessive leaning of the tree, or branches growing out of proportion with the rest of the tree crown. Odd growth patterns may indicate general weakness or structural imbalance.

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. Seek a consultation with a certified arborist to evaluate tree species, soil conditions, wind exposure, defects, overall health and other factors to determine a tree’s hazard potential.

Tree risks aren’t always visible or obvious. Advanced analysis, sometimes through the use of specialized arborist tools or techniques, may be necessary.

Storms can be quick, but cause significant and lasting damage. Be prepared by having a plan to prevent devastation on your property.