Umbrella in a Storm

How Storms Damage Your Trees

Severe Weather Is Inevitable – Protect Your Trees

Severe weather, such as what we get here in North Central Texas, can do much damage not just to buildings, power lines, and roads but also to our trees.  This particular storm season has been especially destructive – 80 mph winds were reported in East Dallas that toppled trees as big as 75 lbs per cubic foot.

Naturally, these are boom times for tree removal services in Dallas-Ft. Worth. While some of these disasters may not not have been preventable, with the proper care, many of the damage could at least have been mitigated.

Dallas-Ft. Worth Climate

Located at the base of Tornado Alley, Dallas-Ft. Worth experiences everything from hailstorms to twisters. July and August are the hottest months, with an average temperature of 96° F and January is the coldest with an average high of 56.8 °. When warm and humid air from the south overtakes the cold, the result is freezing rain, which happens a couple of times during the year. Yes, living here can be challenging…. but it’s “Worth” it!.

In spite of all this extreme weather, the majority of the area’s trees survive year after year. But what does it take to make a tree fall during the storm? Scientific American asked that question to several tree experts and got a lot of enlightening answers. First of all, any tree can fail, they said, with the right combination of factors which can cause the trunk to act as a lever and topple the tree (this is called “windthrow”).

But one of the main things affecting susceptibility to windfall is the tree’s root system. Generally speaking, a tree’s major roots grow 4-5 feet below the soil, with 90% of the absorption roots in the top 2 feet, and grow 3×5 times the diameter of the tree. The ideal soil conditions depend on the tree, but usually one that isn’t too sandy or full of clay will allow them to grow their healthiest and be firmly seated in the earth.

A tree with healthy roots will also have enough strength in its trunk, bark, and branches, to withstand most damage from wind, water, and hail. However, over time, if not carefully inspected and maintained, problems can develop. Recent construction around a tree that has damaged its roots can cause a slow decay over a period of years. Too much bark breaking off or cracks developing in the truck from strong winds or rains can also compromise its health.

One factor that affects roots and can eventually come back to haunt a tree and its owner during a storm is drought. Not just the punishing summer droughts we had up until 2015, but also winter drought. Many people do not realize that, in spite of the fact that the tree appears dormant, it still needs to be watered in order to survive – ice is not able to be absorbed through its roots.

Because of this winter neglect, many trees’ immune systems start to become compromised; roots die slowly or don’t grow as heartily, showing relatively few outward signs of damage until it’s too late. Then, when the softball-sized hail, winds, and rain come, these drought-stricken trees become likelier candidates for windthrow.

What You Can Do To Protect Your Trees and Your Property

Keeping your trees safe from storms, therefore, is a year-round project. It begins by ensuring proper aeration of soil, especially in summer and winter months. One of the most important things you can do is to add much around its base, which helps retain moisture and prevent soil compaction.

When fall or winter comes, it’s also a good idea to have an expert trim your trees to get rid of any potentially dangerous branches as well as help them stay healthy and grow again in the spring. In certain situations it may be a good idea to add external bracing to the trunk or cabling to larger branches.

Your best bet is to call an expert tree service to help assess their susceptibility to storm damage as well as implement preventative measures, as briefly outlined above. DFW Tree Services is such an expert here in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area with many years experience and lots of satisfied customers.

Give us a call today at (469) 706-9832 to save your tree now from storm damage, instead of in the middle of the night when it’s already too late!

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