Predicting which Trees are at Risk During Storms
During a hurricane or tropical storm, how likely will your trees become damaged? It’s not always easy to predict which trees will fall victim to a storm, but there are factors that can increase the risk. Take a close look at your trees to see how many of the following risk factors are present.
Large trees with limited space for root zones are especially at risk. Roots that have been damage from construction, disease, and compaction are also at risk. The root system has several important functions, including anchoring and stabilizing the tree within the soil. When the ground becomes saturated from excessive rainfall, it can cause roots to release their grip from the soggy soil and uproot, especially when high winds come into play. Trees with damaged roots will usually fall in the opposite direction of the damage.
Thick, Heavy Canopies
Thick canopies may catch the wind like a sail, which can put pressure on branches and the root system, and often leads to damage. This is also why live trees seem to create more storm damage than dead trees, although in a storm, any tree can fail. Some species are particularly susceptible to wind damage. They include Bradford pears, maples, and white pines.
Weak Points in Branches
If the branch meets the trunk in U-shaped, it has a strong attachment point. Weak attachment points are V-shaped. As the branch and trunk each grow in diameter, they eventually start to push against each other. Additionally, as the tree grows, bark becomes included within that union, further weakening it. Species susceptible to this defect are Bradford pears, lindens, and maples.
Trees with Two Trunks
Structurally sound trees have one dominant trunk. Trees with two or more dominant leads may suffer storm damage as the trunks blow away and toward each other. Having bark where the two trunks meet also weakens the attachment.
Structural damage such as vertical cracks, cavities, broken branches, and girdling roots can cause tree failure during a storm.
However, even a strong, healthy tree may fall or crack in especially high winds from hurricanes, tornadoes, and tropical storms.
If you need assistance with a storm-damaged tree on your property, contact a certified arborist at Growing Earth Tree Care. Never attempt to clean up the damaged tree on your own, especially around electrical wires.