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Storm Advice: Protecting Your Home From Downed Trees

With rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future, there’s a lot of concern that strong winds coupled with the already saturated ground will lead to falling trees and branches.

“This time of year we’re constantly responding to trees that have broken branches or failed completely,” said Brent Swan, District Manager for The Davey Tree Expert Co.

Swan says the saturated soil and winds can make trees that are already dealing with environmental stresses even weaker. Past years of drought have led to weakened root systems, so when the soil becomes saturated, trees do not get the support they need.

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“The best advice I can give [is] after a storm, be very cautious going into your yard,” said Swan.

If you’re worried about your trees, Swan says you need to look out for cracked and broken branches that are often at an odd angle.

“Soil heaving [means the] root system is beginning to fail as a result of the condition that it’s in,” said Swan. “It is the really large trees that tend to cause the big issue.”

This time of year, The Davey Tree Expert Co. is pretty booked up with routine maintenance calls. Swan says the winter is the best time to deal with pine trees, such as Monterey Pines, because the sap flow is less and that makes trimming safer for the tree.

The company also takes on emergency situations such as removing trees from houses and cars.

When stormy weather is in the forecast, it’s usually too late for preventative maintenance, that’s why Swan suggests keeping an eye on your tree year round and making a note of anything that looks unusual.

“When we’re caring for trees in urban settings, [the trees] really have very little to work with,” said Swan. “[Look for] dead twigs at the top and ends of branches. That means stress [the tree] has below ground has caused leaves to die back.”

You should also be aware of any trees that look badly lopsided or trees that have branches with extreme growth on one side and not the other.

In the summer, Swan says make sure that your trees have full leaves all around and evaluate the leaf size. Be sure to make note of the color of the leaves and how dense the foliage is. Compare your tree to similar species and normal expectations.

While The Davey Tree Expert Co. and companies like it deal with downed trees all the time, you need to call 9-1-1 and the utility company right away if a tree damages utility lines.

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