With extreme weather events in Toronto becoming more common, what can you do to protect your trees or identify trees that are at risk from storm damage? Examining your trees before problems arise will reduce the risk of needing emergency tree removal. The first step is a visual assessment. Look for the tips of the branches that have dieback, gaps or discolouration and also look at the lean of the tree.
A tree that is leaning doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem. Trees can, like us, adapt to their surroundings. When trees sway in the wind they develop extra strength to withstand the force of high winds or other harsh weather. You will notice how some trees develop a lean as they grow into open sunlight away from larger trees and structures.
But trees that lean because of soil or root failure are not stable and will be at risk of damage in extreme weather. You particularly need to look out for uplifted or broken roots, mounded soil, or soil cracks near the base of the tree. Also check for branches that are out of place and extend past the crown or canopy. Diseased, dying or damaged trees are more vulnerable to storm damage so if in doubt about the health of your trees, call in a professional. Prevention is better than cure. Regularly inspecting and maintaining your trees well could prevent a lot of damage and expense, or worse, risk to life.