Five ways to prepare your trees for storm season

With storm season still in gear, it's timely to remember the impact our surrounding environment can have on our properties and our health. Here are five simple things you can do before a storm hits to make sure you and your garden stand a good chance of avoiding damage.

  1. Have your trees inspected regularly (e.g. every two years) so that any problems can be addressed early and at a time that suits you. A qualified and experienced arborist can do this efficiently and economically. 
  2. Look for potential hazards and investigate the condition of your trees. You or a qualified arborist should look for damage such as: cracks in the trunk or major limbs; hollow, aged and decayed trees; hanging branches; improperly formed branches; one-sided or significantly leaning trees; and branches that may come into contact with the house. 
  3. Know your tree - Some species are more prone to storm damage. You should have a qualified arborist evaluate your trees for hardiness and resilience. Being aware of trees which may succumb to harsh weather conditions will help you decide if you want to replace these potentially dangerous species. 
  4. Do not top or lop your trees - Untrained individuals may urge you to cut back or lop all of the branches, on the mistaken assumption that it will help avoid breakage in future storms. However, professional arborists say that topping, the cutting of main branches back to stubs, is extremely harmful and unhealthy for your trees. Re-growth will be weakly attached branches that are higher and are more likely to break when a storm strikes. Also, topping will reduce the amount of foliage, on which the tree depends for the food and nourishment needed for re-growth. A topped tree that has already sustained major storm damage is more likely to die than repair itself. 
  5. Protect your assets - Trees may increase property value by up to 20%. Find out if your homeowners insurance will cover any damage your landscape may sustain due to natural causes and include the total value of your trees when listing your assets for coverage. A qualified arborist can provide an estimated value by inspecting your trees. 

Trees are dynamic living things that require proper care. Hiring a qualified arborist who can assist you with pre-storm inspections and post-storm repairs can help avoid unnecessary loss of your trees.