4 Things to Do for Your Trees in Winter to Prevent Summer Storm Problems

Posted on: 19 January 2017

Winter may not seem like a time to worry about summer thunderstorms and high winds, but when it comes to your trees, winter is the best time to address these concerns. This is because winter is the prime time to prune and do some basic maintenance on most trees. What you do now could save you major damage when the clouds roll in later.

#1: Remove weak wood

In most storms, the first branches to come down will be those that are already damaged or weak. Unfortunately, coming down in a storm increases the chances of the branch causing further damage to the tree or even to your property below. Prune out any branches that are dead, are visibly diseased, or have a weak join. A weak join is when the branch attaches to the trunk at an angle greater than 45 degrees—this makes the branch more likely to bend and break off.

#2: Look for friction trouble

Friction is another issue that can lead to weak branches that are more prone to coming down in a storm. When pruning, you must inspect the branches to make sure there are no two that are regularly rubbing together. The area where they rub will develop thinner bark, which will make the affected branches more prone to pests, diseases, and breakage. Trim out the weaker of the two branches to solve the issue.

#3: Remove problem protectors

Some problems lurk at the base of your tree. Fallen leaves and needles from the fall can harbor the overwintering eggs of insect pests or disease organisms just waiting to attack your tree. Another issue is if the old leaf litter is resting against the trunk, it's going to trap moisture against the wood, and that can lead to rot. These problems weaken a tree, increasing the chances that it will topple in high winds. Clean up the old leaves now before the problems awaken in spring.

#4: Plan to avoid drought stress

Winter is also a good time to plan for summer drought, which can weaken a tree's roots so that the tree blows down when the first summer thunderstorm rolls in. Aerate the soil around the base of the tree as soon as the ground thaws in late winter. This way all that spring moisture can sink down to the roots. If there isn't grass growing under the tree, then lay down a two-inch layer of mulch. This will suppress weed growth so weedy plants don't compete with your tree for water. Just pull back the mulch so it doesn't touch the tree trunk.

For more help, talk to a professional tree care and trimming company such as Show Me Tree Service in your area.


Keeping Your Trees Healthy

About a year ago, I realized that our front trees were starting to look a little funny. Some of the leaves were wilted, but we weren't anywhere near autumn. The bark on the trunk also seemed to be rotting away, which was frustrating and disappointing. Fortunately, a friend of mine told me to call a professional arborist for help. He came out, inspected the trees, and injected some special pesticides into the trunk. Within a few months, they started to look a lot better. Our arborist also trimmed our trees to reduce the weight load on the branches and to improve their shape. Check out this blog for information about tree trimming.