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Protecting Your Trees from Storm Damage

Trees add so much to your property—they provide shade in the summer and help to keep your home cool as a result. Conversely, trees can keep your home warmer in the winter by creating a natural barrier from the wind and cold that seeps through the windows and doors.  Trees are also esthetically pleasing, giving your home enhanced curb appeal and providing privacy. By planting trees in your yard, you increase its property value, giving you more “green” for having “green”! Additionally, trees clean the air that we breathe, removing carbon dioxide and providing health benefits for those with respiratory issues.

With all the benefits trees provide, how can you protect them from storms? Storms can erupt at any time during the year and can have a devastating effect on your landscaping if not properly prepared. Trees can be susceptible to windstorms, large amounts of snowfall, heavy rains, and lightning. Preparation for these various storms is the key to keeping your trees healthy and vibrant.

Keeping your trees in top shape can help them to weather any type of storm. Strong roots and branches anchor the tree and prepare it for winds, rains, and snow. The first step you should take is to prune the trees. Thinning the canopy, or the tops of the trees, helps to keep the tree in good health and will also protect your home and family from potential flying debris in the midst of a storm. Broken branches can also cause harm to your home’s roof, deck, or exterior and tree limbs that are too close to your home shed leaves that can clog your gutters. Also cut any limbs that are close to power lines but enlist the assistance of a professional tree service when necessary. Removing those branches strengthen the tree’s integrity.

Cutting down excess branches reduces wind resistance and will make them less susceptible to lightning strikes, as well. Another option to protect your trees is to install a lightning protection system which will redirect the dangerous electricity generated from the lightning. Instead of striking the tree, the current is channeled into the nearby ground via wires.

As important as it is to prune the tree’s branches, it is equally as important to look after its root system, too. By lining the base of the tree with a ring of mulch, the tree is able to soak up water and nutrients to feed the roots. Also, the mulch protects the roots from being damaged by lawn equipment.

You’ve checked the branches, you’ve checked the root, now it is time to check the trunk of the tree for signs of weakness. If the trunk of the tree has any pest infestation, major cracks, or areas of decay, it will have difficulty surviving a major storm. It may only suffer damage, but if the wind is strong enough, it could possibly upend the tree, splintering it or sending it crashing down onto your home!

Since trees are an integral part of your home’s yard, it is important to care for them properly, and that means being prepared in the event of a severe storm. If you are unsure how to prep your yard for an impending storm, regardless of the type, it is best to have a certified arborist assess your home, provide you with tips, and even help you with the actual labor. Keeping your home in good repair and maintaining the trees and yard on a regular basis will ensure that you are prepared when the next unexpected visit from Mother Nature takes place!

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