Preventing Winter Storm Damage
Winter weather, for most of us, means bundling up by the fire and hibernating until Spring. But while we’re safe and warm inside, your trees and shrubs aren’t as lucky. High winds and icy conditions can strike at any time, and storm damage can be dangerous and expensive! Checking your trees before storms hit is the best way to ensure they can withstand the crushing force of snow, ice and gusty winds that can send heavy limbs crashing and wreak havoc on your property. Read on for tips from the experts at Giroud to learn about preventative measures you can take now!
Do a Visual Check of Your Trees
- Did your trees show signs of stress last summer? Premature fall color change, early leaf drop, abnormally small or pale leaves, or new growth that wilted are all indicators of a potential problem.
- Does the trunk have a cavity or signs of splitting? Scan the trunk and main leaders for holes (cavities), decay and cracked or split crotches.
- Is the bark peeling from the trunk? Gently pull on a piece of bark. It should not break off easily.
- Are twigs and buds developing normally? Scrape either a twig or bud with a thumbnail. It should be a healthy green, not brown or otherwise discolored.
- Is new growth surviving the strains of winter? Try to bend a twig. Does it snap because it’s dry and brittle?
If your trees exhibit any of these signs, you need to schedule an inspection with your Giroud ISA Certified Arborist.
Some Trees are More Prone to Storm Damage than Others
If heavy snow strikes, take special care of trees like White Pines, Arborvitae, Bradford Pear and Birch. Before the snow gets too heavy, shake or brush it off shrubs and small trees to prevent breakage. All trees should be inspected, but these trees are more common victims and their branches can easily break under the weight of snow.
Prevent Storm Damage with an Inspection
We want to help keep your trees and property safe. Here’s what we recommend:
- Hazard Inspection: Have your Giroud Arborist do a root to crown inspection to identify hazards such as cracks, weak limbs, deadwood or unsafe root systems.
- Tree Removal: Dead trees are a hazard and must be removed. Winter is an especially good time for removals since the ground is hard and there is less risk of damaging understory plants and lawns.
- Winter Pruning: Two types of pruning are most critical in the winter: deadwood removal and reducing wind resistance. Selectively thinning branches helps the wind to move more easily through the tree and prevents uprooting. However, never thin more than 25% of a tree’s crown at one time. Additionally, dead branches should also be removed since those are the first to break in a storm.
- Install Cables or Bolts: Trees with multiple trunks or weakly attached limbs are prime targets for splitting. To successfully secure a tree, use a tree service professional with the knowledge required to select the best cable system for each tree’s specific situation and install it at the right tension and location in the tree.
Giroud Inspections are always FREE! Call 215-682-7704 to schedule yours today!