Trees, especially large ones, have the potential to pose a real threat to life and property in the event of a storm. Tree services companies are often called out to help clear up after storm damage however it is much preferred to assist with a customers trees in advance of any damage being caused.
Why do storms blow over trees?
When strong winds blow or heavy snow falls it is natural to be concerned about the potential of falling trees. Before becoming alarmed it is important to understand why it is that tree get blown over when confronted with intense weather conditions.
One major cause of trees becoming uprooted during a storm is what is known as windthrow.
Basically in these situations the crown of the tree is catching the wind and the trunk is providing leverage pulling the roots from the ground. Some of the roots from these trees have had extensive cutting due to their location in an urban environment. This means they don’t have the natural ability to anchor the tree that they would normally have. Other trees with many branches, especially weeping trees, are at great risk of this.
Sometimes the tree isn’t uprooted but instead the trunk or a branch snaps. This will happen at the point of least resistance. If the tree has suffered from decay or has wounds from previous injuries or poor pruning then it is at greater risk of such damage.
Trees growing in wet areas or those that would normally be in wooded areas but now have a lesser ability to sink their roots in and less cover from other nearby trees are at greatest risk.
Spotting an at risk tree
If one of the trees in your garden has a significant lean, especially if that lean has become more prominent in the past few years then it is likely at greater risk. Trees with a crown that is more fleshed out on one side than the other can be caught by the wind in a dangerous way.
If the roots are weak on a tree it may well also be a hazard. This can be seen through the crown of the tree as poor root health is often reflected in this way.
Also keep an eye out for fungi on the tree or around the base of the tree. This could indicate rot which would severely weaken the structure of the tree.
Young or recently planted trees that haven’t yet had time for their root systems to fully grow are also at significant risk.
There are a lot of factors involved when determining the vulnerability of a tree to storm damage. Because of the complexity of this task if you are in any doubt we do recommend you contact an arborist such as ourselves to survey the trees on your property. If you are unsure about your trees and are in the Colchester area then please contact us and we will be happy to help. The expertise of tree surgeon and understanding of how to prune a tree without causing harm or when it is necessary to remove a tree can be invaluable in advance of a storm.
After the storm
Unfortunately people assume that after a storm all danger has gone. If, however, a tree has been damaged during a storm, it’s branches still pose a serious threat.
Please beware of any damaged power lines. If spotted don’t try to effect any repairs yourself and call your local authority.
Many people wait too long! If you think that it’s not going to happen to you then you are unlikely to be prepared when it does. Take the preventative measures necessary to ensure you are ready for when disaster strikes!