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4 Must-Follow Steps To Protect Trees From Storm Damage

protect trees from storm damage

Sandy was something special. More powerful than even the most vicious hurricanes, we gave her a new nickname: Superstorm.

Among the destruction she left in her wake: countless downed trees.

Storms like Sandy – or even smaller hurricanes, nor’easters or blizzards – serve as a reminder of why it’s important to take care of our trees through tree pruning, trimming and other maintenance activities, before a storm hits.

So today we’re going to take a look at pre-storm tree care, including factors that make trees more susceptible to damage, and ways you can keep your trees safe before the next storm hits.

Among the factors that cause trees to topple:

  • Trees on the lots of recently-constructed buildings are in danger because their roots may have sustained damage during construction.
  • Trees in newly cleared areas – after new road construction, for example – are in jeopardy because they have not yet adjusted to being as exposed to high winds.
  • Loose or gravelly soil.
  • Wet ground that allows the trees to uproot

Other factors that make a tree susceptible to damage:

  • Included bark. This term refers to “ingrown” bark, which develops when two stems grow together, weakening the branches.
  • Rot in the root, branches or stems.
  • Lopsided tree tops from previous storms.
  • Mechanical damage and poor maintenance.

Now that you know what to watch for, here are some steps you can take to prevent damage:

1. Make sure you’ve planted your trees in the right place

Before you plant, make sure you know how big your tree might get, and how far its roots will grow, and how much room you have for that growth. If you have bedrock just below the surface of your property, it’s not a good idea to plant large crowning trees. Their roots won’t be able to take hold, which could lead to an uprooted tree.

2. Avoid “volcano mulching”

You may be wondering why we’re bringing up volcanos in a blog post about storms. Don’t fret: it’s not another natural disaster you need to worry about. Volcano mulching simply refers to the practice of piling up mulch against the trunk of a tree until it forms a cone or volcano shape.

While some mulch can help your soil and improve the overall health of your tree, too much mulch is a bad thing. It suffocates the roots, and can cause bacteria and fungus to form. Instead of making a mulch volcano, simply spread a layer of mulch about 2-4 inches thick to an area of about three to 10 feet around the base of the tree. Don’t let the mulch touch the trunk.

3. Preventative tree pruning & trimming

This might seem obvious, but not everyone realizes how necessary this step is. Trees in the forest are essentially wild creatures. They grow together and more or less trim each other’s branches by growing in tight clusters.

Trees growing in your backyard don’t have that advantage, and therefore can grow very large crowns. This leaves you with a top-heavy tree, in danger of damage from snow, ice or the wind. By removing dead and dying branches, you give your tree a fighting chance.

And when we say “trim and prune your trees,” we really mean “hire someone to trim and prune your trees.” Unless you’ve been trained in the art and science of tree pruning, it’s a job best left to a professional. Doing it on your own can put both you and your tree at risk.

4. Let Willow Tree Service protect your trees

When it comes to preparing your trees to face the worst Mother Nature has to offer, you need the help of a professional.

For more than 30 years, Willow Tree and Landscaping has offered a full range of tree services, from tree trimming and tree pruning, tree removals of all sizes, emergency tree service, tree fertilization, tree insect and disease diagnosis and treatment, stump grinding and removal, and tree cabling and bracing.

Contact us today to learn how we can help your trees face down the next big storm.