Many homeowners are fortunate to have mature trees on their property. But large trees can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, they provide shade for our home, shelter birds and animals, and enhance the appearance of our yards. On the down side, a mature tree close to the house or other outbuildings can be a hazard when exposed to high winds and storms.
If you live in a region that experiences ice storms in particular, you’ve probably seen firsthand what a fallen tree (or large branch) can do to a house or vehicle. From roof and siding damage to extensive structural damage, the trees we’ve loved for years can turn from friend to foe in a split second. Fortunately, many of these events can be prevented by inspecting your trees regularly and trimming any overhanging branches.
Vulnerable Species of Trees
Although any type of tree can sustain storm or wind damage, fast growing species with brittle wood are especially vulnerable. Notable varieties include poplar, silver maple, willow, Chinese elm, Siberian elm, and birch. Due to their rapid growth, these types of trees are often popular choices for developers and homeowners.
Limbs that hang over your house, garage, driveway or power lines have the most potential to cause major problems. Other hazardous trees include those that are dead, diseased or rotting (also watch for hollow cores). While lower branches might be easily accessible to trim with loppers or a tree trimmer, it’s safer to hire a professional tree service to handle large or high branches.
Save or Replant?
If a tree on your property has already been damaged, should you try to save it or replace it with a new one? Well, it depends. If the main trunk is still intact and the tree is still attractive and in good condition, it can probably serve your property for many more years.
Knowing who to call during winter storm events can save a lot of stress. Keep a list of important contacts handy, such as a tree service, the electric company, gas company and a snow removal service. Calling a snow plowing company may be necessary after a major snow event to create access to your home.
For more information on tree trimming and protecting your home from winter weather, contact your local tree services professional or home improvement contractor.
Source: University of Illinois Extension (urbanext.illinois.edu)