Last December’s damaging windstorm is a good reason for residents to be more conscientious about emergency preparedness. (File photo by Warren Goulding)

Guest Column: Consider a tree inspection to make sure you’re safe

Percentage of property damage on the Island could be lessened with proper tree assessment

By Mike Cardinal

The percentage of property damage here on the Island could be lessened with proper tree assessment, care and maintenance.

Thinning the branches on the top one-third of the tree allows the wind to blow through the tree tops. Doing so removes the leverage which can cause the tree to break in half or to be blown over. This practice is called wind firming or spiral pruning and is the right way to make your trees safe and healthy.

Also trees that are growing against stumps or large rocks need to be assessed and probably removed. Roots growing in this environment have little or no growth on one side of the root ball making them susceptible to being blown over. Trees that grow from the ground then split into two trunks at the bottom need to be assessed and/or cable braced for the lack of roots growing on one side of the root ball as well. If there are any funguses, mushrooms or dead branches on or around the tree there will be rot and will need to be assessed or removed.

Trees that have schoolmarms (trunks that have a Y in them) are very susceptible to failure, especially maple trees. These trees need to be cable braced, weight taken off the Y or removed. Roots of trees which have been damaged by digging need to be assessed or removed. Any trees which are exposed to wind from removing other groups of trees around them are susceptible to being blown over and should be spiral pruned.

Trees may become sickly if there is a sudden change in drainage or soil temperature, even a few degrees. This often happens when groups of trees are removed, exposing root systems (base of tree) to direct sunlight. It is important to have all trees within striking distance of your home assessed by a certified tree inspector. This will dramatically reduce the chance of damage to your property.

Most tree service companies offer a free written tree assessment by a certified wild life and dangerous tree inspector. This will help make you and your property safe.

Mike Cardinal is the owner of Canadian Tree Service.

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