Heavy snow, freezing rain, lightning, high winds or a combination of any of these severe weather outbreaks can stress your trees – from their root systems all the way to their branches and leaves. Proper tree maintenance can reduce damage to your trees and property, maximizing your safety.
It’s a simple fact: healthy landscape trees endure storms better than unhealthy trees. There are three factors that come into play when you’re preparing your trees for high winds and severe weather: the density of the tree canopy, the strength of the branches and the health of the root system.
Regular tree maintenance can mean a world of difference when it comes to tree strength during a storm. Preventative pruning to thin the top of the tree – the canopy – reduces wind resistance and in turn, the force that can damage branches or even the trunk of the tree. In addition, pruning removes dead branches that can break easily, causing damage to the tree and the surrounding landscapes. Strong branches are better able to withstand high winds. Both the size of a branch and the size of its attachment to the rest of the tree determine its strength, so careful evaluation is needed to determine which branches may need to be removed or reinforced by cabling and bracing.
Protecting the root system of the tree is important, too. A wide mulch ring around the base of the tree removes the need to use lawn mowing equipment close to the roots of the tree, minimizing damage, and also allows water and nutrients to drain down through the soil to the roots.
In addition to the excessive forces that come with storms in the form of high winds, lightning is also a concern with summer storms. Lightning will strike anything that provides a good path for the electrical charge to travel from the storm cloud to the ground, including trees. Installing lightning protection systems in valuable trees can help prevent damage.
Your arborist may recommend a lightning protection system for your landscape trees that directs electrical forces down a series of wires and into the ground, away from the tree itself.
Watch for Cavities
An open cavity in a tree’s trunk, just like in a person’s mouth, creates a weak spot in the entire structure. A tree with strong, healthy wood is more likely to survive destructive, stormy weather.