For Immediate Release
Bedford Hills, NY — September 14, 2007 — Beautiful feature trees and landscape plantings contribute up to 20% of your property value and provide significant environmental, social, and economic benefits. However, during a hurricane trees become potentially dangerous as high force winds increase their likelihood to sustain injury or cause costly damage. Advanced planning with professional help is the key to keeping your family, home and trees safe during hurricane season. According to arborists at SavATree, storm protection begins at the design and planting stage, but mature trees on established properties can be restored, and trees of all ages and sizes benefit from regular preventative maintenance.
Property Evaluation by a Tree Expert
Start with a professional consultation. A high quality tree service will provide a complimentary safety audit for you that highlights immediate dangers, indicates potential hazards and includes prioritized damage prevention recommendations for your property. SavATree Plant Health Care Director Patrick Parker explains, “An arborist can help you identify structural defects, cracks, hollow areas and overhanging limbs. They can diagnose diseases, analyze soil composition, find root rot, and spot signs of insect infestation.” Specialized tools like the resistograph and air spade are used to detect serious internal trunk decay or uncover root injury in a tree that may appear perfectly healthy on the outside. Parker adds, “These conditions are significant contributors to the overall strength of a tree, and ultimately determine its ability to withstand a hurricane.”
Preventative Landscape Maintenance
“Trees are living things that change as they grow and react to the environment,” says Parker, “It’s important to establish a regular system of structural pruning for young trees to encourage a sturdy framework and strong branch architecture.” Older trees that have already developed structural flaws or that have been neglected can be helped by restorative pruning and appropriate cabling or bracing. Regular maintenance pruning is necessary because large trees, especially ones that have not experienced high velocity gusts for years, are the most likely to cause severe damage during a hurricane. “Removal of dead, diseased and damaged wood that is apt to break away and become a projectile during a storm is vital,” says SavATree Safety & Training Director Dane Buell, “Pruning, cabling and bracing help amend structural deficiencies by reducing limbs that are prone to fail and providing support to weak tree parts. That translates into increased stability during a storm and reduces the chances of a tree falling into your home.” Additional tips include annual fertilization to keep trees healthy, watering during drought periods to help maintain the health and holding power of roots, and avoiding cutting roots during construction projects.
Designing for Resilience
A storm-resistant landscape design requires careful consideration when selecting the species, location, and grouping of plantings. Generally, slow-growing native trees in good health with a strong root system, widespread canopy, flexible limbs, small leaf size and low center of gravity are most resilient during a harsh storm. Some trees that exhibit these characteristics are American beech, black walnut, green ash, sugar maple, sycamore, and white oak. “You should have the size of the fully grown tree in mind when planting,” says Buell, “Choose a location where it has enough room to grow naturally without conflicting with structures and power lines. Plant the right tree in the right place.” Isolated specimens do not have as much wind resistance as a group of trees.
SavATree President Daniel van Starrenburg adds, “Following these practices is not a guarantee that your property and trees will go undamaged during a hurricane or severe storm. But knowing you’ve done everything you can to help prepare your trees and protect your home will give you a powerful peace of mind that can make the experience of weathering a big storm less stressful.”
SavATree is an environmentally sensible tree service and lawn care company accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association. Certified arborists provide expert analysis, recommendations, and services to help customers maximize the health, beauty, safety and value of their landscapes. SavATree services include tree pruning, tree fertilizer, insect control treatments, tree disease diagnosis, organic lawn care, green program options and more. SavATree is headquartered in Bedford Hills, NY with 18 branch offices servicing homeowners, businesses, institutions and historic properties in CT, DC, MA, MD, NJ, NY, PA and VA. For more information, please contact us.
SavATree provides tree service in the following areas: