The leading causes of wind damage are hurricanes, windstorms, and blizzards. Falling trees and limbs are responsible for millions of dollars in damage each year. Reducing tree damage around the home can save you money and inconvenience.
Read the tips below to see how you can help prevent the loss from occurring. A couple of hours of preparation is much easier than days or weeks of cleaning up the aftermath from one of these brutal storms!
You know that dead tree in your backyard you’ve been telling yourself you need to cut down? Yes, that one- well procrastinating could cost you, like in a new roof, car or power lines!
You also need to be aware of shallow-rooted trees growing in soft soil. Tree roots can become severely weakened following heavy rains. While these trees may look healthy, the ground cannot support them in high wind.
You probably have seen trees that have been uprooted showing the root system of the tree.
If you have any trees in question, you should be contacting an arborist to have them assess your trees’ resistance to storm damage. Reducing tree damage around the home requires some research, like what you are reading here.
If there are any that will not withstand a windstorm, they should be removed immediately.
Below are some tips that will help you identify potential problems with trees in your backyard, sidewalk, or even neighbor,s yard:
- Cracks in the trunk or major limbs
- Hollow and decayed trees
- Trees that appear to be growing/leaning towards one side
- Branches hanging over the building near the roof
- Limbs that are in contact with power lines.
Q: What should I do if tree limbs seem too close to the electric line that runs from the pole to my house?
A: If the trees or branches are directly rubbing against the electric service wires, Eversource may remove them for you at no charge. You can also hire professional tree contractors to do the work; in that case, Eversource will temporarily remove the pole-to-house lines so that the work can proceed safely. For more information, call Eversouce at 1–800–362–7764.
Read more here: Q&A Eversouce answers
- Mushrooms growing from the bark, indicating a decayed, rotted, or weakened tree.
Mushrooms that cause white rot break down the lignin in trees, leaving white cellulose behind. White rot mushrooms grow slowly and the damage is typically limited, although sometimes it can kill a tree. Read more: Home Guides Mushrooms
- V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped ones (V-shaped are more likely to split).
- Crossing branches that rub or interfere with one another
- General pruning your trees can prevent many problems that might cause damage or loss to your home.
When to Prune
This depends to a large extent on why you prune. Light pruning and the removal of dead wood can be done anytime. Otherwise, below are some guidelines for the different seasons. Read more here: Arbor Day Foundation
Removal of diseased, damaged, or dead plant parts help to prevent the spread of harmful insects and disease, as well as lower the likelihood of a future loss occurring due to a windstorm.
Pruning tips from the experts
- Check local tree regulations before pruning or tree removal.
Avoid pruning branches flush to the trunk. Doing so removes the limb but also exposes the trunk wood to decay or insect damage.
- Begin pruning by making a cut partway through the bottom of any limb to be trimmed, a few inches from the trunk. Then, cut through the limb just above the first cut. This will ensure that if the limb falls, it will not be able to tear a long strip of bark on the way down.
- Cut off the few inches sticking out from the trunk. Be sure to leave the “branch collar,” the swollen area of trunk tissue that forms around the base of a branch. This protects the main trunk from damage.
Taking care of storm-damaged trees
- It is generally best to reset smaller trees. Larger trees that have fallen over will have lost most of their strength, so it is most likely that they will fall over again.
- Weakened trees, sections of trees, and shrubbery can all easily be blown around during a windstorm. These can be the cause of extensive damage to structures, utility lines, roads, and drains. Roads and drains can also become blocked. These should be removed.
- Remove branches hanging over a structure.
- Contact the local utility company if there are any branches or limbs that could be responsible for pulling down utility lines and poles.
- Decide what is best to do with tree stumps:
If you are going to leave them or have someone grind them, cut the stump off flush with the ground.
If you plan to remove them, leave at least 4 ft. of stump standing.
Pulling a stump out is easier and less expensive than digging a stump out.
Massachusetts ALB Eradication Program
Facts about the Asian Longhorned Beetle
Massachusetts State Parks prohibit the transportation of any firewood into or out of state campground facilities and many private campgrounds require that firewood be purchased on site. Within Massachusetts, areas under regulation for Asian longhorned beetle have strict prohibitions against moving hardwood firewood, lumber, and other woody plant materials such as brush piles, due to a federal quarantine specific to that pest. Reducing tree damage around the home even requires knowledge of pests and how they can ruin your day if you’re not aware.
Read more here: United States Department of Agriculture
reducing tree damage around the home
Contact Pete Covill for any question that you may have regarding homeowners insurance.
phone: (508) 997-3321
photo credit mushroom Maarten van Wiijk from Pixabay