The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season officially began June 1, and runs through the end of November.
Already, there have been four named storms – Alex, Bonnie, Colin and Danielle – the most on record so early in the season. This could be the beginning of a very volatile storm season throughout The Triangle this year. With storms, one of the major risks to person and property is down trees and limbs. Let’s discuss what to look for and also what preventative measures can be taken to reduce your risk.
There are several types of storm damage that occur to trees: blow-over, trunk or branch failure, and root failure. Each type is a result of past tree abuse, poor maintenance, pest, tree structure and climate.
The tree is pushed over by saturated ground and persistent winds. This is most likely caused by past tree abuse, poor maintenance, and root rot. To reduce the risk of blow-over have your trees pruned to make sure that the canopy is an appropriate density and as evenly balanced as possible. Leaning trees are also at an increased risk. Have your trees checked for a weakened wood architecture.
Trunk and/or Branch Failure Large trees with multiple trunks are structurally weaker than single trunk trees. These multi-trunk trees should be checked to see if they need to be pruned or need dynamic bracing. Pest damage of previous mechanical damage will compromise the structure of the tree and cause it to fail at its weak points. These trees should be assessed to see whether a plant health care/pruning plan can mend the tree or whether the tree needs to be safely removed by a licensed and insured tree service.
Both small and large roots help hold a tree in place and anchor it in the soil. As the tree grows and the top becomes larger, greater stress is put on the roots to hold the tree in place. Past tree abuse, construction damage, soil compaction, limited growing space and/or root rot predispose the tree to storm damage by weakening the root architecture. A well-planned plant health care program can reduce your trees’ risk of root failure.
It is important to have your trees checked annually (or if you see anything that concerns you) by a licensed and insured Tree Service to assess hazards and risk. A healthy canopy is not alway a sign of a structurally strong tree; many trees that fail have a perfectly green and full canopy but show signs of decline in other parts of the tree.