If high winds or the periodic major wind storm is a concern in your area, you may find yourself looking warily at the larger trees on your property. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your trees more resilient against wind and storm damage. The following tips can help keep your trees and your property safe.
Tip #1: Prune Out Weak Branches
The first step to increasing safety is to remove any branches that show signs of disease, such as dead leaves, or that have any visible damage. These are typically pruned back to the trunk or to the nearest junction to a healthy branch. You should also remove any twiggy, weak growth, including branches that are growing vertically from a horizontal branch. Although you can do minor pruning on your own, consider bringing in a professional for larger trees so they can make sure the tree remains well-balanced as they remove the branches.
Tip #2: Check for Decay Symptoms
A tree may look healthy but it has already begun to rot inside the trunk or in the roots. This damage weakens the tree so it isn't firmly anchored, but the tree may continue to leaf out for several more years. This can result in a fallen tree during high winds. Signs of internal decay include disturbed soil around the roots, especially after wind, mushroom or fungal growth around the base of the trunk, weeping lesions on the trunk, or increased insect activity on the trunk. Consider removing the tree if you suspect internal decay.
Tip #3: Give Them Space
Your trees need space between each other and between themselves and a building. Find out the average mature width of the trees in your yard. Once you are armed with this knowledge, make sure that all the trees have at least this much space between each other and between the trees and buildings. Planting too closely together can result in a weakened root system. It can also increase the chances of a tree or branch landing on your home, or a single falling tree bringing down other nearby trees. If the trees are too closely together, a tree service may be able to move them to a more suitable distance if the trees are young enough.
Tip #4: Make It a Wrap
Upright evergreen trees and shrubs aren't usually dangerous in a windstorm, but they may split. Consider wrapping these in burlap when wind is predicted to protect them from splitting. If winter is your usual windy season, you can even use a burlap tree wrap for the entirety of the season. Just make sure to remove the wrapping before it gets warm, or the trees may die from the trapped heat and poor air circulation.
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