Major late winter storms have wreaked havoc on the Northeast, while bringing more rain to the Southeast. From coastal storm surge and flooding to record setting snowfall and downed trees that have caused power outages, catastrophic property damage and loss of life.
With trees, preparation and preventative measures are key to their survival of severe weather. However, even the most well prepared landscape can suffer tree damage or loss in a major weather event.
Before the next storm strikes, the Todd’s Marietta Tree Services team outlined measures to help prevent your trees from causing catastrophic property damage (or worse) during major storms.
Tree Health, Inspection, and Diagnosis
Tree health and disease prevention begins with proper seasonal maintenance, watering, and pruning. Inspecting your trees needs to be a part of the seasonal routine. Through regular inspections, you will be able to detect problems before they have a chance to develop and compromise your tree’s health.
Whether it be dieback, holes from burrowing insects, mushrooms growing on the trunk or suckers randomly popping up, when you spot trouble, immediate action should be taken to halt the issue. Immediate action is necessary to preserve the health and integrity of your tree(s).
In situations where you are uncertain of what to look for or which actions to take, call in a professional tree service to inspect, evaluate, and explain the different courses of action that can be taken to resolve the issue(s).
Trees Too Close to Power Lines
We’ve all been through it. The rain starts, the wind blows, the storm strengthens, and the power goes out. Generally, the power goes out during a storm when a tree falls and severs a power line connection or disrupts a transformer.
If a tree is growing close enough to power lines that it is in constant contact, touches them when the wind blows, or is an overstory tree that is threatening to fall, here are some suggestions for the handling of that tree.
Tree on Your Property – If the tree is on your property and is interfering with power lines, be very cautious. Trees can become energized when in contact with power lines and cause severe injury or electrocution.
Pruning or cutting back the tree on your own is highly discouraged. Call in a reputable tree service to evaluate the situation and recommend a safe course of action.
In the event that action must be taken, in some cases the power company will be called out to cut the power supply until the tree pruning, cutting, or removal has been completed.
Your Neighbor’s Trees – If you see a neighbor’s tree that is or could interfere with power lines, notify and communicate with them on the issue. Educate your neighbor about the risks and danger that the tree(s) poses, and encourage them to contact the power company.
You are not required to get approval, so if the neighbor does not take immediate action, or the property is abandoned, contact the power company and inform them of the threatening tree(s).
Both you and the power company have an interest in preventing a tree from falling on the lines, so do not hesitate, as a broken line means an inconvenience and loss of power for your neighborhood.
Trees In an HOA Community – If you live in a community with a Home Owner’s Association, they may already have a contract with a local tree service. When you spot an interfering tree within the community, inform the HOA of the location. They will then serve notice to the property owner or take action themselves.
Public Trees – If you spot a tree that is interfering with power lines along the street or on public property, notify the power company of the location. They will dispatch a crew to resolve the issue through their right-of-way and vegetation management division.
Georgia Power’s right-of-way and vegetation management can be reached here, or by phone toll free at 1-888-660-5890 (dial option 1 for dangerous conditions)
Trees Too Close to Your House
When trees overhang a portion of your roof or have grown big enough to cause significant property damage, the following will help prevent a catastrophic tree emergency event during severe weather.
Routine Pruning and Care – The closer a tree is to your home, the more attention it should get. Make sure it is properly pruned according to the right time for its species. Inspect the tree often for signs of trouble and take action when you see something wrong.
Landscaping and Land Disturbance – If you have landscaping that requires heavy machinery, it is important to protect the roots of the tree from compacted soil.
TIP: Heavy machinery and equipment should not be allowed on the land surrounding a tree – from the trunk to the outer edge of the canopy.
Also, be aware that removing concrete slabs like those in walkways or driveways may result in your tree falling. As the roots grow beneath, the structure becomes a part of the tree’s support system. Always seek the advice of an experienced and reputable tree service when planning to cut trees, plant or redo your landscape.
Trees and the Weather
While trees are very capable of adapting to their location and responsive to the climate they grow in, severe weather will often challenge the strength and health of your trees.
Inclement weather and intense storms are primarily dangerous due to lightning, high-speed winds, and their ability to topple trees into power lines and on to structures.
It is up to property owners to ensure continuous vigilance and tree care to prevent catastrophic emergency tree events that result in severe property damage, power outages, or loss of life.