Winter Storms: Are Your Trees Ready?
November 16, 2015
Trees in North Texas have taken a beating the last few years. Between extended drought, followed by flooding and compacted soils, many are not sturdy enough to withstand winter storms. Too often, the problems may not be obvious to the untrained eye - until it’s too late.
Losing a large established tree is heartbreaking; and it can cause a lot of new issues for your home and landscape. All of a sudden, you no longer have shade protection from that hot western Texas sun. Your electric bills will shoot up and it will become more difficult to cool your home during summer months. Lost privacy is also a concern. And that shade-loving landscape? You’ll have to kiss it goodbye too! So what can you do to prevent the loss of your tree?
Often, much of the damage caused by our strong storms can be prevented with good pruning and care. The key is to have your trees expertly pruned before the storms hit. And if you thought you couldn’t prune trees when they were dormant, we listed 5 reasons why pruning in winter is actually a good thing.
Hazard signs to look for:
Hazard signs to look for:
Does the trunk of your tree look like the picture above? If so, your tree has codominant trunks, two trunks with equal weight competing on the same tree. The area where they join becomes weak, and in a strong storm or ice storm, the tree could split down the middle, or one trunk may pull away and fall. We often deal with codominant trucks using strategically placed cabling and bracing.
Cabling uses a flexible steel cable between branches to limit excess branch motion and reduce stress where the trunk or branches meet. Bracing uses bolts or threaded rods to rigidly secure weak or split crotches, unite split trunks or branches, and hold rubbing limbs together or apart. More on cabling and bracing here.
Too often, trees are improperly thinned out in the attempt to grow a lawn beneath the tree. Over time, too much weight remains at the ends of the branches, causing poor weight distribution. Branches that are too heavy on the ends can snap off, especially during ice storms.
Sometimes, when trees have growth spurts that are too fast, they can become overweight...just like us! The heavy spring rains we experienced this year caused a lot of trees to have quick growth spurts. This left many branches, especially ones that had already been improperly pruned, subject to breakage.
Overthinned trees or overweight branches are an even bigger problem in trees with codominant trunks. See more about overgrowth in trees here.
Now is the time to prune trees before winter storms arrive. No matter who you have care for your trees, be sure they are a qualified and experienced Certified Arborist. To schedule a pruning time with us, contact us here.
Posted: November 16, 2015