Storm Damaged Trees
Posted: December 6, 2011
The heavy wet snow we experienced in October damaged many trees. Maples, sweetgums, sycamores and other trees that had not yet dropped their leaves were hit particularly hard. With the leaves off most of the trees now, you should take the time to carefully inspect your trees for structural damage that may have occurred due to the early snow. Small trees with minor damage can probably be taken care of by the property owner. Larger mature trees that have been damaged may need the help of a professional tree service.
To look for hazardous conditions, inspect each tree systematically. Start by scanning the top, using binoculars if necessary. After reviewing the crown, look downward along the trunk, and then carefully examine the root zone. Look for splits and cracks in the trunk and limbs. Look for sap seepage as this can indicate a hidden crack or split. Look at the ground. Can you see uplifted soil or disturbed roots which can indicate root damage?
Older trees, which may have accumulated multiple defects and extensive decay should be inspected carefully. Decaying trees may be prone to failure, but the presence of decay alone does not necessarily mean failure. Soft, crumbly wood with a cavity is an indicator of decay which may be serious. Evidence of fungal activity including mushrooms and conks are additional indicators of decay. If you notice any of these problems, then call a company that has a certified arborist who can advise you how to deal with the problems. When in doubt about the safety of a tree, consult a certified arborist.
Screen potential arborists by asking for references; certificates of insurance; and how they will prune the trees (see if they mention that their work will be in accordance with ANSI A300 National Tree Pruning Standards). Membership in organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or National Arborist Association (NAA) indicates a certain degree of knowledge and professionalism. ISA in particular, maintains a list of arborists who have passed extensive testing to become a Certified Arborist. Avoid those that mention topping. Topping leads to disease, decay, split bark, insect infestation, dense shade, bird problems, high maintenance costs, and decline of the tree. Topping accelerates the death of many of our trees.