The shorelines of the UK have been plagued by an excess of heavy storms in recent months, with floods and strong winds wreaking havoc with power supplies and causing major damage to property.
News reports have been dominated by these storms which have been designated names given names, such as Abigail, Barney, Henry and Imogen, to help raise awareness and increase public safety.
These warnings can’t prevent damage occurring however and strong winds, reaching speeds of up to 90mph, can have a damaging effect on vegetation and trees in particular. For those living in an area where storms could hit, there is a constant worry that a nearby tree could collapse and damage your property or vehicle.
In order to prevent such an event, there are some tell-tale signs that a tree is likely to collapse under wind pressure and thus needs removing safely. This article will look at these, along with some techniques of how to preserve tree stability.
Signs A Tree Could Fall
You don’t need to be an expert to spot the obvious signs of tree instability. If a significant lean to one side has occurred, this is most likely to indicate severe anchor root damage. With increasing wind pressure, this could cause the tree to collapse.
Look out for cracked soil or exposed roots around the base of the tree in regards to this, especially on the side opposite the lean. In addition, the presence of mushrooms or fungus at the base of the trunk could signify dead or decaying roots.
Dead or dying trees can be identified by fallen or brown leaves, along with any bark or branches which have simply broken off throughout the year. Any deep cracks within the tree may also cause instability, along with pest problems or the appearance of mushrooms/fungus around the base.
In older trees with multiple trunks, the V or U-shape where the two trunks meet are often weak points which can increase the likelihood of splitting. Be cautious of this if a big storm is predicted to come your way.
Preventing Tree Damage in High Winds
Of course, any tree in bad condition is more likely to collapse under high wind pressure and some trees are naturally more stable than others. However, although not all trees are completely wind-proof, there are certain techniques you can use to reduce instability.
For example, regular pruning can be highly effective in minimising structural problems at an early stage. To do this, you should cut diseased or weakly attached branches before they become larger than around 2 inches in diameter.
You should also try and keep trees healthy by regular watering around the base and mulching during the winter months. You should also be aware of sunscald, a natural process that can cause permanent damage to the bark, and use wrapping to protect the outer layer.
The Effects of High Winds on Garden Trees – conclusion
A professional arborist will be able to offer a professional evaluation on the condition of your garden trees and if any are in danger of collapsing, especially in high winds.
If you’d like any more information on the effects of high winds on garden trees then don’t hesitate to get in touch.