Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preventing Winter Tree Damage

Winter tree damage can come in many forms: from minor headaches to expensive disasters. Many people keep a close eye on their gardens, but many homeowners falsely believe that trees can hold their own during the harsh cold season. Even if you have already prepared your trees extensively for winter it’s difficult to predict how each year’s changing weather is going to effect your investments and property. The hardiest and most established of trees still face significant damage if the homeowner doesn’t keep a keen eye.

Inspection- Better Late than Never

It may seem like mid-December is a bad time to be thinking about potential winter tree damage, but the standard rule still applies: bad luck is impossible to prepare for. Take a special look at aged, leaning, or previously damaged trees as they are the most susceptible to the forces of wintery nature. Exposed and isolated trees in residential landscapes are often the biggest risk, so keep note of damages sustained over previous years. 

Common Threats

Ice Damage: Frozen water can affect trees in many different ways. Cracks can become filled with moisture and then burst open to create a huge crack. Weight is also another issue for many trees, whether it is due to an accumulation of snow or ice. Be aware of how low the branches are hanging over power lines, because branches are surprisingly flexible and can cause expensive damages that may result in lawsuits against the property owner. Make sure that a tree service professional is contacted for emergency winter trimming if there is any possibility that power lines may be affected. 

Winter Moths: For the past ten years, homeowners on the south coast have experienced a rather startling increase in invasive tan moths which swarm windows and headlights during the early December months. These pests land on trees and deposit eggs- their offspring are responsible for defoliating and ultimately killing hundreds of thousands of acres of trees each year. The larvae feed on the tender buds of springtime trees. Late winter is a great time to begin spraying trees for this pest, although winter birds like cardinals are thought to enjoy the otherwise unwelcome guest.

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