WORX Jawsaw cutting a tree branch

How to Care for Trees

Winter is the Perfect Time to Have Trees Checked Out by a Professional

by Nancy Szerlag

One of the great charms of older neighborhoods is the stately centennial trees that line the streets. But aging trees can become hazards if they are not cared for. In the past few years thousands have become victims of vicious straight-line winds and winter storms that have plagued the U. S. in the past few years.

Preventive care and pruning by a professional – a certified arborist, may prevent their loss that causes damage to property, injury and even death to humans, along with those dreaded power outages.

Winter is a good time to do a checkup on tress because structural problems are readily seen when the trees is barren of leaves and trees are less vulnerable to disease when pruning is done in cold weather.

Here’s a list problems to keep an eye out for all season long:

Dead, hanging or broken branches larger than 2 inches in diameter should be removed before they fall and cause harm.

A thinning canopy and undersized leaves are always a red flag and should be checked out.

A leaning tree can also be a signal for trouble, especially if there are exposed roots or a mound of soil near its base. A storm bringing straight-line winds can quickly topple such a tree, so have a professional assess the tree’s stability ASAP.

Next examine the branches and trunk for defects. Look for cracks and splits in the trunk. Measure their depth with a screwdriver. Shallow cracks are not a problem, but those that go below the bark layer are a sign of trouble. Large trees with multiple branches arising from the same point in the trunk may have weak attachments and separate during a storm bringing down all or part of the tree.

Also look for cracks where branches larger than 3 inches in diameter are attached to the trunk. A split here indicates a high probability of failure and warrants action.

Inspect the trunk and large branches for cavities, cankers, mushrooms and conks – large growths. Mushrooms and conks at the base of a tree are a sign of decay. A trained arborist can evaluate the tree’s condition and its potential as a hazard.

The final step is to check out the base of the tree. Damage from rodents, string trimmers, roots encircling the tree and/or a flat-sided trunk are all red flags and should be seen by a professional. Removing strangling roots and exposing buried root flairs using an air spade can save the life of a tree.

To find out more about care of trees and locate a certified arborist in you area go to www.treesaregood.org .

Category : How To, Lawn & Garden
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