The Importance of Proper Tree Care
March 17, 2017
During a heavy rain storm, a large Oak tree fell from a neighbor's property onto the detached garage of a PURE member. The massive tree caused extensive damage to the finished garage which included a second floor living area. Thankfully, no one was injured. The result was a Homeowners claim nearing $150,000.
Many claims reported in the aftermath of severe weather events are caused by or involve downed trees. A common misconception regarding this damage is that the weather event caused the tree to fall. However, according to Horticultural Management Inc., a leading provider of tree and shrub care services, over 80% of tree failures occur to trees that have pre-existing health and/or structural problems. Healthy trees are resilient and more able to withstand the elements.
For PURE members, the average cost to remove a downed tree after a storm is close to $2,000, while the average cost to both remove the tree and repair any property damage exceeds $20,000. For some PURE members that cost is significantly higher. However, by keeping the trees around your home healthy, you can reduce the likelihood that they will cause property damage in a future storm.
Protect Your Home With Proper Tree Care
The following advice can help to mitigate risk from storm damage and protect your home:
- Schedule an annual tree inspection. Have your trees inspected annually by a certified arborist. An arborist can identify both hidden and visible health issues and weaknesses that could make a tree more vulnerable to strong winds, heavy snow or excessive rains. A PURE Member Advocate® can assist you in scheduling a complimentary tree assessment; contact them today to ensure your property is protected from future storm damage. An arborist can also assist you to:
- Determine the tree species on your property. Some species are naturally more resilient than others. Knowing the different types of trees located on your property will help you determine the best way to care for each.
- Understand how to care for each species. Like all plants, trees need adequate water and nutrients. Too much of either can be just as detrimental as not enough.
- Prune trees to make them stronger. Proper pruning can alleviate and prevent many issues that could potentially weaken a tree. Prune to remove dead, diseased, weakly attached and hazardous branches and to maintain reasonable branch spacing and symmetry. A properly pruned tree will look better and be up to 30% more wind resistant, an important characteristic during the spring and summer storm seasons. Pay particular attention to trees in close proximity to your home and to overhanging limbs.
- Apply mulch around tree roots to protect them. Lay a thin layer of composted organic mulch around tree roots in the fall or early winter to help retain water and reduce extreme temperatures. Make certain that the mulch is not piled up around the base of your trees; you should be able to see the flare of the trunk at ground level. Mulch piled too high around trees can weaken them and make them susceptible to insects and disease.
- Talk to your neighbors about any of their trees that overhang your property.
Look for These Warning Signs
Here are some tell-tale signs that a tree may be at risk. If you spot any of these issues on your property, particularly affecting the trees near your home, contact an arborist to confirm the diagnosis and to take action.
- Noticeable Lean. Some trees have natural leans, while others, especially those with an excessive lean of 40° or more, should be looked at.
- Defects, Wounds and Splits. Decay, cavities or cankers, mechanical damage and longitudinal cracks or splits can be causes of concern.
- Co-dominant Stem. Trees with co-dominant stems have a high risk of failure since they are structurally unstable.
- Crown and Branches. Be wary of trees with crowns that have large, dead branches. This often indicates health issues.
- Evidence of Root Damage. Root damage will often manifest itself through the decline of tree parts above ground.
- Dead Trees. While there are many kinds of trees with different characteristics, common signs of a decaying tree include bark that begins to fall off and brittle branches.
After a Storm Has Passed
If a tree on your property has sustained damage due to a storm, contact a PURE Member Advocate® at firstname.lastname@example.org for help scheduling a damage assessment with an arborist. An arborist can determine if a tree’s injury can be repaired or if the tree needs to be removed. They can also safely clear out broken or loose branches from the canopy that could result in property damage down the road.
Tags: Homeowners | Weather