Hazardous Trees Can Be Corrected to Avoid Damage

Preventative maintenance can really pay off.
An experienced arborist can diagnose and correct structural issues before they become tree failures.

Spring is just around the corner. The snow is disappearing and the nightly sounds of raccoons knocking over your neighbours garbage cans can be heard once again.

This winter we have seen all kinds of weather from mild to deep cold, alarming amounts of ice rain, and high winds that kept many of us taking cover. The leafless state of our deciduous trees has been a blessing in some ways, and a curse in others. Their bare branches are much less vulnerable to the forces exerted by wind gusts. However, interior trees that are normally protected by the canopy of other trees during the growing season may not be strong enough to withstand the force of the winter winds.

The strong winds we experienced in the last several weeks can compromise tree structure resulting in splits that can be an entry point for decay and seriously weaken the tree. A highly trained Certified Arborist can identify structural weaknesses before they cause damage to property or personal injury. Weak, heavy limbs and sections can be pruned, cabled and braced to protect the weak area of the tree, and your property. Every year, there are hundreds of established trees in urban areas that suddenly fail and cause damage. Many of these occurrences can be avoided by proper inspections and proactive maintenance.

In some instances, the tree has simply outgrown the landscape and requires crown reduction to maintain a safe, healthy tree. Unfortunately, when mid-large sized trees are not maintained, these beautiful specimens can be lost way before their time.

A large section of this maple tree fell just inches away from the owners vehicle

The Importance of Annual Tree Inspections

The best time to look for structural issues is now, when the trees are dormant. A Certified Arborist can more clearly inspect and access the main stem and branches in winter/early spring. I recommend having a Certified Arborist visit your property at least once per year to carry out a visual inspection for structure, decay and other damage. These annual tree inspections are the most effective way to mitigate tree failures. Many of my clients will hire me to visit their property twice per year, not only to look for hazards but to evaluate tree health when their trees are actively growing. Trees add so much value to our landscapes. A little proactive maintenance can help support the longevity of our stately specimens, and reduce maintenance costs over the lifespan of the tree.

Inspecting a large tree that has existing cables to support heavy sections

For trees that have co-dominant leaders or multiple large limbs that originate low on the trunk, it is important to do a more thorough inspection. Cables should be regularly inspected for wear and damage to make sure they are in good condition since their purpose is to reduce the chances of failure during sudden heavy loads (e.g. strong wind gusts). The Certified Arborist performing the tree inspection may require access to the tree using personal climbing gear or a bucket truck. Once in the canopy, they can examine existing cabling hardware and any structural unions that may not be visible from the ground. The Certified Arborist can then make recommendations (e.g. pruning for weight reduction) as well as any other actions needed to maintain tree health and safety.

This 15 year old maple tree was just pruned to promote better structure and overall shape by removing cross-over branches and reducing heavily branched sections.

Tree Pruning For Structure and Shape

Now is a great time to prune small and medium-sized trees to encourage optimal growth and structure. A Certified Arborist can better assess the structure of the trees canopy before leaf emergence. For juvenile trees, we typically prune out limbs that are crossing over, select a leader, reduce or eliminate heavy or weak limbs and balance & shape the canopy. Trees with many co-dominant leaders (such as the one in the photo above) may require pruning more often.

Green Bird Horticultural is your one stop tree maintenance provider. From managing your mature trees to planting new trees and everything in between.

Please contact us now so we can help you be proactive with your green assets. The best way to protect and grow your landscape is through early detection and regular maintenance.

(Trees are complex, biological organisms and despite thorough inspection, unforeseen issues may result in tree failure).

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