Ask Allen ~ "Safety Tips for Inspecting Trees After a Storm"
Following a significant storm event, it is very important to inspect your trees for any hazard that may have occurred. First, from a safe distance, look for any downed power lines or lines that may have limbs contacting them. Immediately contact the proper authorities and postpone the remainder of your tree evaluation until all utility work is complete.
Next, from a distance, inspect all sides of the tree while looking for any obvious damage to the crown, such as broken or hanging limbs. If no damage has occurred to the crown, move closer to the tree and examine the trunk to look for any cracks, both vertical and horizontal; also look for any lightning damage. If the tree is forked, look for stress cracks in the joint between the two forks.
The next area to inspect is the root zone. The roots are ultimately responsible for a tree’s structural stability. Examine the root plate to determine if the anchorage has been compromised. Look for heaving soil and roots around the tree, especially on the opposite side of any lean to the tree. Inspect the base of the tree for fungal fruiting bodies, as these are a sure sign of root rot. Root rot is a significant cause of tree failure, and can cause failure to a tree that otherwise looks healthy.
Finally, if damage has happened, evaluate the target area of any potential tree failure. People, buildings, utilities and vehicle-use areas should be considered when making your evaluation. If targets cannot be removed, block off the area to keep out pedestrian traffic until the hazard can be removed.
Damaged trees can be very dangerous to both people and property. Thus a qualified tree professional should be considered when working with any hazardous tree.