Part 3 of a 3 part series
Types of storm damage to trees
There are many different kinds of storm damage. Each is the result of every tree having its own unique mix of elements that combine to form a history. These elements include its past pruning, the tree’s structure and natural or environmental factors.
Just like it sounds, this is when the whole tree is pushed over by strong winds. This happens when the wood architecture of the tree is weakened by pest problems, poor maintenance or prior tree abuse thereby increasing its chances of being damaged.
Branch and/or stem failure
Breaking branches are common and happen for multiple reasons, such as old trees with injury sites that may no longer be visible or trees with multiple trunks and branches that are poorly joined or have narrow branch angles. All these things make them weaker and unable to withstand high winds.
All trees have a vast root system of large and small roots that hold the tree in place. A healthy root system is critical to the stability of trees, small or large. If the tree isn’t healthy, that’s when the root system can fail and cause problems in unusually strong winds. Common causes are construction damage, soil compaction, root–rot, past tree abuse or limited growing space.
Who can prune a tree?
Technically, anyone can prune a tree though pruning either corrects problems (when done properly) or creates them (when done incorrectly). A certified arborist or tree professional knows when and how to properly prune a tree and does so with a purpose.
If someone without training prunes a tree, it can cause significant damage by creating a wound on the tree that acts as an opening for decay to enter. If done right, the wound will close over naturally so decay is limited.
What can you do to help prevent storm damage?
Keep an inventory of your trees
Knowing what trees you have and what kind of shape they are in will help you predict which ones may fail during a storm. Take a few minutes to write a list of Key Trees and Key Problems.
Key trees are trees that are most valuable and ones you would most like to keep. Key problems are trees that may already have some problems or ones that you think are most likely to fail.
Monitor your trees
Check your trees for damage on a regular basis and especially after big storms or anytime there have been high winds. If there’s any damage, minor or major, it’s best to take care of it right away. You may be tempted to ignore minor damage but we urge you not to, as minor damage can easily become a big problem down the road. Like maintenance on a car, it’s best to deal with problems when they are small, easier to fix and usually cost you less money.
Call a Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Accredited Tree Care Company if your trees exhibit any of these 6 signs.
- Cracks or splits in the trunk or major limbs
- Visible signs of decay or hollowing anywhere
- Mushrooms growing out of the bark
- Considerable leaning to one side
- Branches touching or near power lines
- Branches hanging over your home
In calm conditions, branches may not be touching power lines or your home. However, when the wind blows, the branches will move and may touch or can break and fall on power lines or your house.
General Tree Service is a TCIA accredited Tree Care company. We want to prevent storm damage and help protect your Portland home, trees and property this winter. Contact us if you have problem trees that worry you or if your trees are just due for pruning services.