Trees play a vital role in our surroundings, providing shade, shelter, and beauty. However, when battered by storms, they can become potential hazards. In the aftermath of a storm, it’s often overlooked to inspect trees for damage, but it becomes imperative for both personal safety and environmental well-being.
By understanding the importance of post-storm inspection, you can contribute to maintaining a safe and resilient environment while taking proactive measures to address the tree damage effectively.
What to look for
A common mistake that people make is to assume that if a tree didn’t fall during the storm, then it will continue to hold its ground. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A tree can be damaged in a storm, weakening it, meaning it is at risk of falling or damaging your property in the future. So, what should you be looking for?
Trees leaning at unnatural angles or, worse, completely uprooted, are one of the most clear indications of storm-related stress. This type of damage not only jeopardises the affected tree but also poses a risk to nearby properties and individuals. Identifying leaning or uprooted trees is key when determining the extent of damage and the necessary course of action, whether it be stabilisation or emergency tree removal.
Broken or hanging branches
One of the other most obvious indicators of storm damage is the presence of broken or hanging branches. These can pose immediate threats, especially if they are hanging dangerously over structures or pathways.
Inspecting trees for any branches that may have snapped during the storm is crucial for preventing accidents and ensuring the overall safety of the surroundings. Broken tree branches can be a hazard to people and property and can also put stress onto a tree and leave it vulnerable to health problems.
Check each of your trees for broken, cracked, or split branches after severe weather. If you spot any large or hard-to-reach branches that are damaged, then call us as soon as possible about having your damaged trees pruned to remove the affected branches.
A less apparent, yet equally significant, sign of damage is the splitting of bark or stem. Some trees develop more than one trunk, known as co-dominant stems which are often weakly attached due to the presence of included bark and prone to splitting apart, especially those with narrow angles of attachment at the bifurcation.
Storms can exert immense pressure on a tree, causing these structural weaknesses that may not be immediately visible. Examining the trunk for any vertical splits or cracks along the “seams” of these unions can help identify internal damage that may compromise the tree’s stability going forward.
Cavities and decay.
If you find cavities or decay where branches meet, at the base of the trunk or root flare, there is a definite cause for concern. Fruiting bodies of fungi and cankers growing from the bark of trees or on exposed roots can indicate basal decay or die back within the crown. As the decay progresses, the wood is weakened further and failure is more likely. Do not attempt to clean out or seal a cavity or decay pocket, you may be doing more harm than good.
Assessing the severity
Once the visible signs of damage have been identified, it becomes important to assess the severity to determine the appropriate course of action. Differentiating between minor and major damage is important in understanding the potential risks associated with compromised trees.
Minor damage may involve small, isolated branches that can be pruned, while major damage could include extensive structural issues or complete uprooting, requiring immediate attention by a professional.
Understanding the potential risks associated with damaged trees, such as falling limbs or weakened stability, helps in prioritising tasks and ensuring the safety of both property and individuals. In cases of uncertainty, seeking professional arborist consultation is advised, as we can provide a comprehensive evaluation of the tree’s health and the best course of action for rehabilitation or removal.
Safety should be the most important aspect of your inspection after a storm. It is crucial to prioritise personal safety and the safety of others during this process. It is always recommended to contact a qualified arborist to make the inspections on your behalf. We are trained to look out for signs of stress and fractures within the tree and can advise on further courses of action.
Before embarking on a post-storm inspection, you should put on any personal protective equipment (PPE) you may have, including a hard hat and suitable footwear to guard yourself against potential hazards such as falling debris or sharp branches.
In cases where the damage is extensive or the tree’s stability is compromised, it is advisable to refrain from attempting a DIY assessment and instead seek professional advice. By following safety measures and stepping on the side of caution, you can ensure a thorough yet secure inspection process after a storm.
If the tree is resting or has brought down a power line it is imperative that you do not approach the tree or the surrounding area as electric shock could be sustained. Instead, call the emergency services if this is on public or private land that others could come into contact with or there is a risk of fire and call UKPN or your local utility provider, who will send their own qualified team out free of charge to deal with the issue.
When to contact Dr Stump
We are trained to assess damaged tree situations. When contacted, we will formulate a plan that is HSE compliant as well as supply you with a risk assessment and method statement prior to carrying out any work. We will then determine the safest course of action and our skilled team will liaise with you to discuss your next steps.
If you think you have a tree that poses a threat to surrounding properties or vehicles then contact us today. From removal to remedial works, we offer comprehensive tree care even in the most challenging situations.