Gusty winds and hot weather can take a toll on our tall leafy friends. However, healthy trees are better equipped to handle the rough weather. According to Vancouver Urban Forestry, now is a good time to keep trees watered and have them professionally inspected and serviced if needed in order to protect against future storm damage.
“Trees are amazingly resiliting,” City of Vancouver Urban Forester Charles Ray said in a news release. “Just because a tree is mature doesn’t mean it will fail. Most trees fall because of a defect or health issues, such as decay, shallow roots or dead branches. The key to storm-resistant trees is proper care and pruning.”
According to Ray, research suggested that twice as many trees are removed after a storm due to a perception of fear, not because the trees are actually dangerous. Trees are biologically engineered to adjust to wind loads, and healthy trees develop trunk wood and stabilizing roots to provide strength in response to wind events.
“Most of the tree damage after a storm is on trees that either have been previously topped or have not been properly pruned,” Ray said. “Proper pruning establishes good branch structure and removes dead or decayed limbs.”
Proper tree pruning can also carefully thin the tree crown, correct hazards and enhance shape and size. A tree that has been topped (indiscriminately removing large branches and tree tops) is more likely to bread or uproot in severe weather as opposed to a tree that has been properly pruned.
Likewise, slow, dispersed, regular watering during hot, dry summer months will help trees develop deep roots, more able to withstand stress. Young trees need about 10 to 15 gallons of water once per week during the summer months. Older trees may need extra water, too. In general, use approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter each time you water.
“Healthy trees can add significant value to property,” Ray said. “Removing trees can be expensive.”
If you are concerned about your tree or trees, call a certified arborist to assess the health and safety of the tree and provide sound options. Advice on hiring a professional tree care provider and a list of certified contractors is available online at cityofvancouver.us/urbanforestry under the Tree Permits section or by calling Urban Forestry at (360) 487-8308.