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Storm damaged trees

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How to Check Your Trees After a Storm and Why it’s Essential

Three storms in such quick succession: Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, was a hard challenge to bear. Leaving a trail of destruction in their wake, the storms were some of the worst the UK has seen in many years. Eunice was the most severe, with winds reaching up to 122mph.

Hundreds of people found their trees felled as a result of the harsh winds. Many had to call in specialist help to remove storm damaged trees, urgently in some cases where they had fallen onto roads or hit power lines. Others suffered damage to property and vehicles as large branches were shed.

Are your trees safe following the recent storms?

If you were lucky enough to see your trees remain intact following the recent storms, you probably feel a sense of relief. However, the fact is that many trees left standing may still be posing a risk. Loose branches, or weaknesses in parts of the tree, could well be hazards in waiting.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell with just a quick glance whether there are any issues. Weaknesses won’t always be obvious, and loose branches may remain hidden.

But come another storm, or even just a particularly windy day, and any loose wood could easily fall, large branches break, or weaknesses caused by the storm finally take their toll and lead to the tree splitting and hitting the ground.

How to check your trees are safe and healthy

This is precisely why it is so important to check your trees following a storm. But how best to do so?

First things first, always conduct your inspection from ground level. Don’t attempt to climb up into the tree, or use a ladder.

Now, there are certain things that you need to be looking out for:

Leaning trees

If your tree appears to be leaning, even if only slightly, it could be weakened. There could be a crack somewhere within the trunk, or it may have loosened at the base.

Broken branches

Have a good look to see if you can spot any broken, cracked or split branches. Listen for any creaking, which is often a sign of stress. Breakages can be damaging to a tree’s health, not to mention hazardous if they affect larger branches.

Weakly attached branches

Inspect the larger branches at the point where they are attached to the main trunk. If your tree has a number of branches coming out from the same point, this could be a particular area of weakness because if one branch goes, the others are likely to follow.

Hanging branches

Branches that are broken but still partially attached or lodged in the canopy are particularly hazardous and could fall at any moment.

Cracks

Cracks within the bark that don’t go any further won’t usually be an issue. But if the crack is deeper and extends into the wood, this could indicate that the wood within the trunk or branch has separated, which will usually mean that the structure of the tree has weakened.

Split trunks

Some trees develop multiple trunks, which can sometimes be weakly attached and susceptible to splitting apart. For larger trees, this can be particularly worrying, so take a close look at the point where the trunks meet and look out for any signs of splitting.

Storm damaged trees

Signs of decay

If you can see cavities within the trunk of the tree, especially where branches meet or at the base of the trunk, this could be cause for concern. Fungus growing on the bark or exposed roots can indicate rot and decay. This can weaken a tree, making it more prone to damage.

Utility wires

Keep an eye out for any wires that have come into contact with the branches of the tree. The wires may have loosened or broken branches.

What to do if you suspect a tree hazard

If you suspect a hazard, don’t go any further and certainly don’t attempt to rectify it yourself.

You are going to need the help of a qualified tree surgeon who is trained in emergency tree work and has the proper equipment needed to safely deal with the issue.

A tree surgeon has the expertise to remove loose, broken or hanging branches. They can prune back canopies safely where they may be in contact with utility wires. And they will be able to professionally inspect a weakened or leaning tree, or one that is showing signs of decay, to ascertain whether it can be made safe, or whether tree removal is the only option.

Do you have a tree that needs attention after a storm?

If you are concerned about the safety of a tree on your land after the recent storms, TH Trees Ltd can help.

We are fully qualified Trading Standards approved Essex tree surgeons covering all of Essex and Greater London.

We are able to make safe and, where necessary, remove fallen or potentially falling trees from public land, commercial premises and residential property and have the resources and expertise to handle even the most risky situations, including where trees have come into contact with overhead power lines or have fallen into awkward to reach locations.

For the expertise you need in emergency situations, call TH Trees Ltd on 01268 642 814.

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