Preparing Your Trees for Severe Storms

sgranberyGeorgia has been inundated with storms recently, and many homes have been subjected to severe winds and deluged with rain. These wet and windy conditions can lead to dangerous situations if you have trees around your home.

Healthy shade trees are a great asset, giving you a beautiful yard, increasing your property value and reducing air conditioning costs by as much as 30 percent. However, these same trees can pose serious danger during severe weather, especially if they aren’t healthy. While fully assessing tree risk requires special training and experience by a certified arborist, there are some simple things you can do to get some peace of mind and determine if you need to seek a professional assessment:

  • Start with a self-survey of each of your trees to identify the obvious risks, and remove any diseased, dead or loose branches. English ivy and other invasive vines should be removed to help inspect the base of the tree for cavities and fruiting bodies, such as mushrooms, which indicate root disease.
  • During sidewalk replacement, utility work, or other excavation, avoid cutting roots or keep root damage to a minimum. Without a strong and healthy root system, a tree could be uprooted during a storm and cause damage. Regular watering, mulching and ongoing tree care is important to maintaining healthy trees in your yard. Trees that are not properly maintained or are stressed can quickly become major liabilities during severe weather.
  • Should you lose a tree in a storm, it is important to plant healthy new trees to provide benefits for future generations. When purchasing new trees, be sure to select trees from the nursery that appear healthy and ask a nursery employee about proper care.

The Georgia Forestry Commission has a host of resources that can help you find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about trees at Ask The Arborist. You can also find a list of arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) who can conduct fee-based site visits to determine tree care needs.

For more information about preparing for thunderstorms and other types of severe weather, check out ready.ga.gov.

Susan Granbery is the Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator for the Georgia Forestry Commission, located in Stone Mountain, Ga.