Hurricane Season: Look Up Before the Storm

The Atlantic hurricane season is winding down for 2020, but there is still the potential to do damage through the winter months, and taking damage prevention methods will be needed . Even then, the winter storm season will likely ramp up in a few weeks so, should prudent homeowners still have time to plant storm protection strategies for the trees and shrubs in their landscape?

Hurricanes and violent storms

“It is important that people who live in the East and Gulf coastal areas be prepared for the remainder of the 2020 hurricane season,” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. “We’re not quite out of the woods yet. Even people in the Midwestern states should heed the warning. Right now, prepare your strategies to help get your trees as ready as they can be to survive a major storm. Don’t wait until the storm is headed your way.”

Prepare for Hurricane Season in Advance

One of the greatest dangers to life and property during hurricane season is high-wind events posed by falling trees and limbs. “Larger tree leaves catch more wind and can increase mechanical stresses. These stresses increase the chances of either branch or whole-tree failure,” explains Andersen. “Preparing trees for a high-wind event should be done well in advance of the storm season. However, it’s not too late to start preparing, now. As a result, to help ease reduce these dangers, have a qualified tree care provider evaluate your trees. Doing this will help determine potential weaknesses and dangers.”

Look at your trees for the following warning signs:

• Wires in contact with tree branches. Trees energize with electric wires.

• Dead or partially attached limbs hung up in the higher branches that could fall and cause damage or injury.

• Cracked stems and branch unions that could cause catastrophic failure of a tree section.

• Hollow or decayed areas on the trunk  or peeling bark with gaping wounds.

• Fallen or uprooted trees putting pressure on other trees beneath them.

A tree is a living, growing, changing thing, and its integrity and stability could change over time. Don’t assume that a tree that has survived nine severe storms will necessarily survive a tenth. Simultaneously, not all large trees are dangerous. Contact your tree care expert for an onsite examination.

Find a professional

A professional arborist can assess your landscape and work with you to determine the best care for your trees and the steps you can take for hurricane season damage prevention. Contact the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), a public and professional resource on trees and arboriculture since 1938. TCIA has more than 2,300 member tree care firms and affiliated companies. All tree care company members recognize stringent safety and performance standards. TCIA requires them to carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance, where applicable. TCIA also has the nation’s only Accreditation program that helps consumers find tree care companies that have been inspected and accredited based on: adherence to industry standards for quality and safety; maintenance of trained, professional staff; and dedication to ethics and quality in business practices. For more information, visit www.tcia.org.

An easy way to find a tree care service provider in your area is to use the “Locate Your Local TCIA Member Companies” program. You can use this service by doing a ZIP Code search on www.treecaretips.org.

* Board Certified Master Arborist, Certified Treecare Safety Professional

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