Trees can be an attractive part of any garden, providing shade and adding greenery. However, when wet and windy weather arrives, trees can sometimes turn into a hazard. In some cases, trees have been knocked-over during periods of bad weather, and this can cause damage to properties and to people. That’s why it’s important to get your trees checked on occasion by an arborist, especially any that show signs of weakness, as they’ll be able to make recommendations on how to make them safer. This could mean looking at tree lopping, or taking extra precautions. If you’re worried about the trees on your property, here are a few things you can check, and some basic steps you can take to make them safer.
How dangerous are trees?
Luckily, the chances of being hurt by a tree is very low. You’re much more likely to be killed in a road accident than by a tree falling on you. However, it’s still important to be careful, and trees can easily do a lot of damage to property if not properly looked after.
Certain weather conditions make tree failure more likely. Wind alone isn’t usually enough to cause tree failure, although it can certainly knock off a few branches, so it’s worth getting them cut back. A combination of wet and windy is the most dangerous to trees, as the water-logged soil can destabilise the tree, meaning it doesn’t take much wind to knock it over.
This can also be an issue in areas prone to flooding. Soil that becomes extremely wet can’t hold onto tree roots, so they slip through the mud, making the trees easy to fell. This can sometimes happen when trees are planted in the wrong kind of soil, which is why it’s worth consulting with specialists when you plant new trees.
Trees that are close to power lines are hazardous. It’s important to follow strict safety guidelines in relation to power lines, including:
- Checking for overhead power lines before you trim a tree or short hedge
- Contacting your local electricity company if working on a tree within two branch lengths of a power line
- Never cutting back trees or hedges that are touching lines
- Never climbing trees that are touching power lines
- Taking care when using a ladder close to power lines
Ultimately, if you have a tree close to a power line, it’s better to leave maintenance up to the professionals. They will be able to advise on the best options, whether it’s lopping a tree or felling it completely.
If you have power lines close to your property, be cautious when planting trees or hedges. Make sure they are planted a safe distance from power lines, and speak to an arborist who’ll be able to advise on the best varieties for your land.
One reasons why trees can become unsafe is because of weakened areas. Trees have a strong structure and are sturdy, but if they are attacked by insects or certain types of pathogens, then they can lose their structural integrity. At that point, any windy or wet weather can cause issues.
Trees can sometimes become dangerous if they are interfered with. If you think about the structure of a building, it’s carefully engineered to be strong. If you then remove bricks, it becomes weaker and more susceptible to damage. The same goes for trees. They can soon become damaged if people try to do their own tree maintenance such as:
- Tree lopping
- Cutting roots
- Removing major branches
That’s why it’s important to use the services of an arborist for tree maintenance, as they’ll be able to ensure the tree is safe after procedures such as pruning have been carried out.
There are a few reasons why poor maintenance can lead to tree failure. For example, if the crown of a tree becomes too heavy due to lack of pruning, this can make it more dangerous during a storm. Heavy branches can also cause problems, so should be checked over, especially if you know wet and windy weather is on the way.
From damaging a tree by hitting it with a vehicle, to damage caused by construction near the roots, humans can sometimes be the cause of unsafe trees. If you have hit a tree on your property, consider getting it checked by an arborist to see if it’s still stable. When carrying out construction, make sure you leave plenty of space for tree roots.
Keeping trees safe
There are a number of things you can do to ensure the trees on your property are safe.
- Regular checks – book regular checks from an arborist. They can give you expert advice on how to care for your trees, and spot potential issues such as weakened spots
- Remove dead branches – one of the biggest causes of property damage from trees is from dead branches falling. Have dead branches removed every couple of years to protect your home. Dead branches are a natural part of the tree’s growing process, so their presence shouldn’t cause alarm
- Prune problem areas – if an issue is identified with your tree, such as a weakened area, then your arborist might suggest pruning. This can be a good alternative to tree removal, and when left to the professionals, ensures that the tree is still stable
- Avoid root cutting – tree roots have two functions, structural and feeding. If you cut roots you risk the entire structure of a tree, or could end up with a dead tree on your property which is also dangerous. Speak to an arborist before cutting tree roots
If you’re concerned about a tree on your property, get in touch with Perth Arbor Services. As experienced arborists, they can check your trees and give you advice on how to take care of them. Call (08) 9227 0010 for a free quote.