The East Coast has been receiving a pounding from deadly nor’easters, but adverse conditions haven’t been limited to that side of the country alone. March Madness started a little earlier for California over the past weekend. The first days of the month were marked by powerful rain storms and high winds that presented a surprise danger to commuters. While it wasn’t quite the snowstorm of any given century, there was still significant potential for property damage or worse. One local family’s experience is a stark reminder of why it is so important to hire a certified arborist to inspect trees near our homes.
Harsh weather can bring down trees of any size or age
The Newell family woke up on March 1st to the sound of branches crashing outside of their Sacramento home. The century-old cedar tree outside of their home had split apart thanks to the heavy rains and strong wind gusts. As the tree fell, it crushed two of the family’s vehicles as they sat in their driveway.
The tree would fall directly onto the house, pushing a portion of it off the foundation, and causing considerable damage to the roof and one of the walls. Had the house failed to withstand the initial impact, the family could have sustained significant injuries during a collapse.
Fortunately, their experience was something they could talk to reporters about. But their tree wasn’t the only one to fail during the storms. Throughout the greater Sacramento area, the roads and sidewalks were littered with broken tree branches. Inevitably, those branches damaged vehicles and homes.
In the final days of February, hail was also a significant concern. Trees that were already at risk due to drought stress or disease could have been further weakened from hail damage. But this damage isn’t always obvious to anyone who isn’t a fully certified arborist. And with more storms on weather forecasts for the region, calling a tree service company in advance could prevent disasters.
High-winds aren’t needed to bring down trees at risk of failure.
The expected rains may not have the same bite as storms the month opened with. However, a combination of damage caused by those storms, or existing risk factors, and saturated soil could mean that your trees are still a danger. Trees that are already leaning could get the last pushed needed to fall over if enough rain falls. And if a tree is already showing signs of physical damage, such as a growing split in the trunk, the danger is even greater. A tree shifting in the soil could cause that split to run through the entire tree, essentially failing under its own weight.
Any large trees on your property should be inspected by a certified arborist. It’s not just an issue of property damage. As the Newell family almost found out first hand, large trees can be a deadly hazard under the right conditions.
Arborists can inspect trees and determine what, if any, risk factors are worth concern and further action. Branches that are already showing signs of serious storm damage, or are at risk of falling, can be removed. Bracing and cabling could keep trees upright. In the worst-case scenarios, an arborist may make a recommendation to have the tree removed. While this could cost you the centerpiece to your landscape, it could save you even more hassle in the long run.