April showers may bring May flowers, but they also bring torrential downpours and strong winds. If spring storms damage your trees, it is important to inspect them right away. A fallen or leaning tree is easy to spot, but potentially dangerous branches sometimes are hidden within the leafy canopy. Here are some tips to determine whether your trees pose a safety hazard and require tree trimming Cambridge professionals.
Don’t worry if a moderate number of small fallen branches are strewn across your yard, because these flexible appendages serve to lessen the wind’s impact on larger limbs, and are designed to be disposable. Starting with the trees surrounded by the most debris, stand at their base and look up. If your view of the crown is blocked, try looking from different angles or climbing a stepladder.
If 50% or more of the upper branches are missing, your tree probably needs professional trimming to help it recover. It still may need pruning if less than half is gone, but focus your attention on the major limbs. Cracked branches in the upper crown are not easy to spot from the ground unless you know what you are looking for; however, you can look for broken or dangling limbs touching electrical wires or those with the potential to fall.
Carefully inspect the trunks of all the trees in your yard. The main stem is the sturdiest part of the tree, but it is not invincible, and trees whose trunks are damaged in storms often do not recover. Look especially at areas previously damaged by decay or animals. Any trees with woodpecker cavities or shelf fungi growing on the trunks may have unseen structural weaknesses making them more susceptible to damage and potential trunk failure.
Damage to the trunk is often conspicuous, but fine cracks are more subtle, and you will only detect them upon close examination. If the crown is asymmetrical because of pruning or competition with nearby trees, the wind’s pressure can cause an uneven distribution of force on the trunk. This force can create torque, causing the trunk to twist and split open. Sudden cracks can be dangerous and may cause the entire tree eventually to buckle and fall without warning.
The roots of most trees spread out underground to a diameter two to three times the width of the canopy. This extensive system anchors and stabilizes the tree, helping it to withstand winds. A strong gale can completely overturn a tree with a compromised support system, toppling it over on its side with roots in the air. If no trees are lying completely sideways, check to see whether any are leaning or wobbling.
An examination of the root plate at the base of a tree can give you clues as to the health of its roots. Raised soil and broken or pulled roots visible above the ground are danger signs that a tree may fall in the near future. The presence of a large number of mushrooms around the base signal decay, and are another bad sign. Otherwise healthy trees can sometimes be salvaged by improving drainage, but those with more than 30% of roots exposed generally cannot be saved.
Martin’s Tree Service
After a spring storm, don’t take a chance with leaning or damaged trees. Leave it to the tree trimming Cambridge experts at Martin’s Tree Service to inspect the trees in your yard for injuries invisible to the untrained eye. We can assess damage to branches high in the canopy, where they are at the greatest risk of falling and causing damage, and provide professional advice on how to best deal with your situation.