6 Tree Storm Tips for Homeowners

The winds are coming. Here’s what you need to know.

TACOMA – A downed tree on your vehicle or home is an unwelcome winter possibility in the Northwest. With regular storm warnings on the news, now is a good time to prepare your property and trees. A warning has been issued for a large storm this week with possible heavy winds (up to 50 mph) and rain through the weekend.

If you are a homeowner with trees of any size on your property, this concerns you. The following 6 tree storm trips will help you manage trees and prevent emergencies.

1. Check your existing trees to identify any defects or pruning needs. Even a healthy tree may have some branches that should be pruned out. A dense tree acts as a “sail” in high winds, pushing and possibly downing even a healthy tree. Check for cavities or large cracks in the trunks or excessive dead wood. If you find any of these, consider having an arborist prune and assess, especially before the next storm hits. Most healthy trees should be able to withstand regular storms.

2. Move vulnerable items if possible. If you have any concerns about your trees’ stability, consider moving any parked vehicles, trailers etc. from the general vicinity of the tree, and keep pets and children away from the area.

3. Plan ahead for next year. The best defense is a good offense, so be proactive. It’s better to prune or remove a problem tree than having it on your house and a leaking roof. Make a note on your 2017 calendar to schedule fall pruning and assessment. A simple thinning of tree branches before winter could be the difference between a downed tree and one that stands strong. During heavy storms, aborists will be busy with emergency trees, so plan ahead.

4. Call 9-1-1 if you have a tree down on power lines. Keep everyone away from the site and contact emergency services immediately. This one is best left to the experts.

5. Call an arborist if there’s a tree down with no immediate emergency or safety issue. “We can remove and clean the site of a downed tree,” says Jay Brock from Family Tree Care in Tacoma. “If a smaller tree is down, it may be possible for us to upright, the tree, essentially replanting, then lining the tree with straps and padding protection.” They advise to keep those lines on for at least a year until its roots have re-grown and the tree has stabilized. An arborist can also remove a tree that can’t be uprighted.

6. Don’t panic. A tree with damage may look worse than it really is. Have an arborist assess broken limbs to see if the tree can be restored with pruning. Asking an arborist is your best bet to determine whether a tree can be saved or should be removed.

Like any tree job, a skilled person, preferably International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)-qualified, should complete tree assessments. Skilled arborists have the specialized training and skills to manage all the trees on your property. Arborist certification requires regular, ongoing education in addition to the original certification process. The Arbor Foundation recommends using only certified arborists for your tree work.

“No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night with a tree on their house or car. Simple assessments and annual pruning can be the difference to a trouble-free winter or an expensive or dangerous repair,” said Jay Brock and Johnny Marth, Family Tree Care owners (Tacoma) and certified arborists.

FTC specializes in tree removal and clean up, repairing storm damage, pruning, beautification, and disease treatment. Family Tree Care serves the greater Tacoma, Lakewood and Puyallup areas and are bonded, licensed, and insured. For more information, visit the website to complete a quick form to schedule a free estimate or contact Family Tree Care at (253) 234-GROW (4769).

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