Trees are susceptible to a number of threats, ranging from pests to drought to storms and many, many others. While they might seem largely impermeable, they’re at the mercy of their environment. Trees cannot move themselves to a safer location, nor can they take shelter from high winds or low temperatures. As a homeowner, it’s your job to protect your trees. Not only will that help safeguard the tee itself, but also your home and family (a falling mature tree can be disastrous). Choose the Right Tree The first step here is proactive – choosing the right tree. If you live in a Mid-Atlantic state that regularly sees high winds or very low temperatures, a white oak, for example, might be the best choice for a large tree. The right tree will make a significant difference in how much care and maintenance you have to perform. Consider size, hardiness, sunlight needs and more. Know the Signs of a Tree Susceptible to Storm Damage Some trees are more susceptible to storm damage than others are. Know the signs to look for and take action before disaster strikes. A tree with many small twigs and branches close together can actually act like a sail in high winds, leading to toppling or limb breakage. You see this a great deal in trees that have been topped or improperly pruned. Never, ever top your trees. Not only does it make the branches grow back too closely, but it can also make your tree more susceptible to certain diseases that can kill the entire tree. Rot in the roots or branches of a tree is also a sign of an unhealthy tree that might be more susceptible to storm damage. Trees growing in the yard of newly constructed homes are often more at risk for storm damage than others because the soil might be loose, and they often suffer from root damage from equipment used to grade and prepare the yard or in the construction process. You’ll also find that trees in newly cleared areas are susceptible to storm damage because they haven’t yet adjusted to the increased wind and open growing conditions. Preparing Your Tree Taking proactive steps before a storm hits will help protect your trees, as well as your home, automobiles and family. Branches with rot should be trimmed or removed. Trees with splits, cracks or severe root damage should be removed completely. Branches that rub together as well as broken branches should be removed too. If you notice branches interfering with power lines, or that would cause broken lines if they were felled during a storm, contact your power company to have the branches removed. Health Inspections Despite their seemingly imperviousness, trees can be damaged by a number of threats, including insects and diseases. Part of protecting your tree is regularly monitoring its health. The most easily identified threats are insects, and there are quite a few different types that can cause problems for your tree depending on its species. Wood boring insects are one of the most common threats, and can cause problems for almost any type of tree. Others defoliate trees, stripping them of leaves necessary for photosynthesis. Yet other insects actually suck the tree’s juices out through the bark, leaves, twigs and branches. Insect treatment is best handled by a professional arborist who understands the threat as well as the various treatment methods available. Regular Maintenance and Care Finally, all trees require care and maintenance. For a mature tree, this generally means regular watering, particularly during dry spells, as well as mulching and fertilizing. Strategic pruning can also remove diseased branches and limbs before they adversely affect the rest of the tree. Do you have issues that require attention from an experienced arborist? Growing Earth Tree Care can help so call today, (703) 818-8228.