January 10, 2020

Will Your Trees Be Able to Withstand Winter Storms?

Winter can be a wonderful time of year. Christmas lights, presents, family gatherings and good food.

Winter can be a wonderful time of year. Christmas lights, presents, family gatherings and good food. But, winter weather can be a challenge for tree owners.

Some of the same things that make winter a wonderful time of year can make it treacherous for trees and problematic for tree owners.

Snow and ice make for winter fun with snow angels and beautiful scenery. However, as snow and ice buildup on tree branches, the extra weight can prove to be disastrous for your trees and your property alike.

When limbs and branches give way to the weight of the extra snow and ice, they can come crashing down damaging your home, car, or whatever is in their path as they snap and make their way to the ground.

Trees that are stressed or weakened due to disease or infestation are often the first ones to be damaged by nasty winter weather.

Warning Signs of a Weakened Tree

Created stress can be caused by human interaction such as road salt and pollution. Too much or too little water can also cause a tree’s health to worsen over time.

Diseases and insects the stress level of a tree to rise while also making it more susceptible to winter weather damage.

A Thin Canopy

If you look up at your tree’s canopy and notice it’s unusually thin or if you see your tree has more than its fair share of dead or dying branches, you may be dealing with a tree that is stressed or has a disease.

Cracks or Splits in the Trunk

If you are walking your property and see cracks or splits in the trunk of your tree, it could be an indicator that something is causing the trunk to decay.

Small cracks usually aren’t the end of the world. However, if you notice a large crack or split in the trunk, odds are it’s too late to save your tree.

Be on the Lookout for Mushrooms

Tree owners should be watching out for signs of decay, fungus, or mushrooms growing around the base of the tree.

Mushrooms and traditional fungus typically grow on dead or rotting wood. If you see fungus or mushrooms around your tree and you suspect there’s a problem, don’t wait, call an arborist.

The sooner the problem is treated the easier it will be for the tree to make a full recovery.

A tree with Two Trunks

A tree with two trunks joined to form a V shape they give your tree character and give your neighbors something to talk about, but this is usually a bad sign. It typically means your tree was or is under stress. Situations like this can be rather complicated. Following the advice of a skilled arborist is usually your best bet.

A Leaning Tree Is a Problem

If you notice your tree was standing tall but is now leaning, there could be some major issues. A leaning tree could snap or be uprooted by the weight of snow and ice or a strong gust of chilly winter wind.

Before getting out the chainsaw and lopping off branches or cutting down the tree, talk to a qualified arborist to get a complete picture of what is going on.

Leaves Falling at the Wrong Time

In order to manage stress, trees try to conserve resources and will drop their leaves. If your tree is losing leaves at the wrong time of year, stress could be the culprit.

Prune before It's Too Late

Having trees near your home and around your driveway makes for a beautiful yard. It also makes for potential danger when winter storms strike.

The snow and ice that accompany winter storms can build up on branches causing them to snap. Branches that give way can fall on cars, power lines, and they can even come crashing through the roof of your house.

It’s a good idea to think about pruning any limbs or branches that could cause property damage. We recommend consulting an arborist before making any major decisions. However, this time of year it pays to pays to keep your eyes peeled for any potential problems and catch them before it’s too late.

It's Your Tree and Your Responsibility

Most homeowners tend to worry about a tree falling on the house or car. But as a homeowner, you are also responsible if your tree falls on your neighbor’s property causing damage.

In most cities, you are also responsible for maintaining the grassy area in front of your home between the sidewalk and the street.

Power lines Can Be a Problem Too

The last thing anyone wants during a winter storm is to be without power. If your tree’s branches are getting close to power lines, contact your local utility provider for advice on how to proceed. Don’t risk knocking out the power for you and your neighbors.