Let’s face it, living in Lethbridge means lots and lots of wind. A healthy tree can protect itself against most of the abuse our autumn winds can throw against it, but hidden vulnerabilities in your trees can mean they are much more susceptible to wind damage. That could also mean that your yard and car are much more susceptible to damage from overturned trees, and falling branches.
To help you keep your tree upright, as it should be, here are some helpful tips for seeing if your trees are weakened – and on what to do next.
Checking your trees to see if they are susceptible to wind
Before it gets too blustery in Lethbridge, it’s a good idea to check on the trees in your yard to make sure they won’t crumble under the more intense winds of the season. There are for more things that can make the trees in your yard more susceptible to wind damage:
1. Decaying wood
If a tree has been damaged somehow in the past (perhaps from a machine or from vandalism), it’s immunity is in a weakened state. Like an infection, this ‘wound’ can fill with bacteria that eats away at the tree’s tissues, weakening its structure. So when a windstorm blows, that weakened wood is much more likely to give out, leaving your tree (and possibly your yard) with a gaping wound.
To make sure your tree is healthy and strong, check your tree for:
- Hollow holes
- Cracks or cavities
- Bulging or mushrooming
If you see or suspect damage, call an expert to determine the best next steps for your tree.
2. Top heavy
Although a heavy canopy can make your tree look lush and full of life, it also makes your tree resemble a kite. All those extra branches and leaves act as a wind catch and threaten to sail your tree, and it’s multitude of branches, away when the wind blows. Not only is this dangerous for your tree, but it also stresses it.
Make sure to:
- Keep the canopy trimmed as per an arborist’s recommendation
- Keep up with regular, seasonal pruning
- Remove any limbs growing at a strange angle that may catch the wind
3. Weak branch unions
Check your branch unions to make sure they are healthy. A healthy branch union is U-shaped, while a brittle branch union is more V-shaped. If you see a brittle union, staying on top of corrective pruning can help your tree recover.
If you see a weak union:
- Call an arborist to ask for further direction
- Corrective pruning measures can be taken if the tree is still young
4. Root issues
If your tree’s root system isn’t strong, then it can’t do its job: anchor it into the ground and keep it there. If the tree’s root system is too shallow, this usually means one of three things:
- The tree is being over watered – the root system will stay shallow if there’s an abundance of water.
- The tree is being underwatered – the root system will search further away if there’s not enough ‘deep water’ below.
- The tree isn’t anchored properly – the roots are having trouble growing through man-made materials like concrete.
To find out if your tree has a shallow root system, check for the following after a windstorm:
- Heaving or lifting
- Exposed roots
If you can see either of these, it’s time to call your local neighbourhood arborist to determine the next steps you should take. Lucky for you, Infinity has a certified arborist!
When in doubt, call an arborist
It’s crucial to get an expert to examine your trees if you suspect they are weakened. The sooner you can take the next steps, the better, to keep your tree safe and protected from the next Lethbridge windstorm. For more information give Infinity a call today and ask to speak with our certified arborist. It’s our job to look out for the health of your trees!