Tree Safety in Stormy Weather
Danger of Damaged and Fallen Trees
Storms damage trees, especially the types of storms we’ve seen in Northern VA lately. If trees are damaged or fall down, they can be harmful to your landscape and dangerous to people and property—especially when more wild weather is predicted. Tree experts are most qualified to assess the risk and remove or repair the trees in question.
With over 35 years of experience in tree and shrub care, Jed Gohering’s team of VA certified arborists are local leaders in tree diagnostic and treatment, tree trimming, tree pruning, and tree removal. If a tree has fallen and is in need of removal, a qualified professional like us should be called to handle the heavy equipment and complicated saws. In many cases, stump removal is also required, which is a dangerous procedure best left to tree experts. If a tree is damaged, our tree experts will assess a number of elements—such as the size, species, type/position/severity of damage, and location of the tree—before taking action.
Tree Safety Assessment
If a tree is damaged by a storm, a tree expert should immediately inspect the damage to determine the level of risk and the safest course of action. Some of the areas our certified arborists inspect include:
- Location: There are many aspects of location to consider to determine if a tree should be removed, pruned, or is safe as is. Close proximity to power lines or homes increase risk. If the tree is in a place with high exposure to wind, the damage is likely to intensify with the next storm. If the tree’s base is located safely but a branch is growing over the house or other property, pruning will likely be recommended.
- Branches: One of the most obvious tree dangers is a dead wood or a broken branch that can fall. It may be difficult to tell if a branch is broken or dead following a storm, as it can take months before the leaves turn brown. Tree experts, however, can determine if a branch is safe by inspecting for decay and rot on the upper side of a branch.
- Roots: Sometimes the roots of trees are damaged. If left unattended, this can cause a tree to uproot and fall over in wild weather. Certified arborists know what signs to look for when determining the safety of a tree’s roots. Something as small as cracked or raised soil opposite a tree’s lean can indicate root disturbances.
- Decay: Weak, rotting trees can be often be difficult to identify, making them especially dangerous in stormy weather. It’s recommended to have tree experts regularly assess tree health, as they know best the symptoms of decay. In many cases the “symptoms” are perfectly normal and only an arborist can tell the difference. For example, fungal growth (like mushrooms) at the base of trees and cracks or cavities in the truck can be harmless or dangerous, depending on the extent. Arborists use resistographs to determine the intensity of rot, cavities and cracks before making a recommendation.
- Branch Connections & Multi-Stemmed Tree Trunks: The point where two trunks of a tree meet, and/or where the branches of a tree meet its trunk, can tell a lot about the safety of the tree. These spots should be inspected by a tree expert for weakness and/or storm damage. Weak connections often take the form of a tight V shape, which can easily split apart in high winds and heavy rain.
Safe Tree Trimming, Pruning & Removal
Trimming, pruning and removal all require the use of intense equipment best operated by the professionals who use them every day. In fact, handling trees is risky business in itself: Trees have minds of their own and even highly trained professionals can have accidents.
Trees near a home or power lines can be extremely dangerous for an amateur to attempt to treat or remove. Better safe than sorry! Call your local tree experts as soon as you notice damaged or fallen trees.