However good the care is that you give your trees, storm damage is always a possible risk. Moreover, it’s impossible to anticipate what will be damaged. The combination of high winds and saturated soil can cause even the largest and most enduring trees to fall. In the winter, snow and ice accumulation can rip down branches. Even if you wake the morning after a blizzard, relieved to see no damage, as the snow on the topmost branches begins to drop, it lands on those below it, burdening them further until they break under the strain.
What can you do about storm damage? The most important thing to do is to call a certified tree service. Unless it’s very minor damage that you can handle with a pruning saw, it’s much safer to call a professional.
A professional tree service has a great deal of experience, and will be able to survey the site and decide how best to tackle the problem. Many storm-downed trees are still under tension, meaning that if proper care is not taken in removing them piece by piece, the tree may shift, roll, fall, or even snap back upright in some cases. That’s dangerous enough — now add a couple of guys and a chainsaw to that situation. People could be injured if they’re not experienced, well trained, and careful.
In fact, cleaning up storm damage is one of the most dangerous aspects of the tree care business. We plan the work carefully, with the team leader, who has the most experience, discussing with the other members of the crew how to best anchor the tree so it doesn’t shift, and what cuts to make in what order. We use special equipment designed to increase safety and manage risk. It is definitely not a job for amateurs.
How to Mitigate the Risk of Storm Damage
Aside from the obvious — getting your trees pruned regularly — there are a few other things you can do to mitigate the risk of storm damage to your trees or property.
First, assess the risk. How many trees on your property, or your neighbor’s property, are close enough to cause damage, should they topple? Are any of them weak-looking, top-heavy, or in poor health? What about the soil they are in? Trees anchored in ridges or banks are at risk of having their footings eroded out from under them.
Once you’ve assessed which trees are a risk, call your tree service company. They can inspect the nearby trees for any structural risk (for instance, dying limbs). They can also recommend anchoring systems if it seems very likely that it’s not a matter of if a certain tree will fall, but when.
Our certified arborists will come out and assess your trees, just give us a call at (703) 359-4444.