Signs to look for to keep your tree upright during windstorms - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Signs to look for to keep your tree upright during windstorms

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

With wind gusts potentially reaching 35-45 mph Monday night, some damaged trees could be at risk of falling over.

As long as you’re tree is strong and healthy, you shouldn’t have to worry about these gusts. Even damaged trees can sustain powerful winds.

But if you’re cautious, and want to know the signs to look for in potentially dangerous trees, we’ve got you covered.

1. Start at the top of the tree: Are there dead branches? Loggers call these "widowmakers" and treat them with great respect. Homeowners should do likewise. Dead limbs are an accident waiting to happen. They can fall in the slightest breeze, when a mower bumps the tree, or a child climbs in it. They sometimes give way even on a calm day. Dead limbs are a red-flag signal for prompt action.

2. Check the trunk: Forked trunks are signals of potential weakness, especially if one side of the fork grows outward instead of upward like the other. Narrow-angled forks are also prone to infection, often indicated by sap or pitch being exuded. Early pruning of one side of the fork can prevent these problems; cables or braces are corrective actions taken by arborists to strengthen the fork in trees of higher value. Look for signs of decay: Clues to internal decay of the trunk or large branches are cavities, disfiguration (cankers) and the fruiting bodies of fungi (conks). Sometimes there are no outward indications. Arborists then use one of the methods shown below to check for decay.

3. Don’t forget the roots: Are any roots severed? Trenching or construction within    the root zone is a major cause of hazard trees. The problem is two-pronged. First, severed roots lose their ability to support the trunk and crown, especially if located on the windward side of the tree. Second, severed roots are open wounds that invite decay organisms like fungi.

Learn more about how to detect these red flags and many more at: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/uf/sotuf/chapter_3/appendix_b/appendixb.htm

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