By Canopy Team on January 6, 2017
As California prepares for a wet and wild weekend thanks to the “atmospheric river” heading our way, it’s a good time to brush up on your emergency preparedness. Great resources include tips and services from Santa Clara County and San Mateo County, as well as the City of Palo Alto’s winter storm information page.
This article from the Sacramento Bee and this guide from New York are good primers on what to look for. Cracks in the soil or a leaning trunk with upraised soil near the base can be signs that a tree’s roots are unstable.
According to arborist Kurt Stegen, conifers like Redwoods, Pine, and Cypress can be especially vulnerable since their needles can hold extra water, making their evergreen canopies extra top-heavy.
Multi-trunk trees with weak attachments (see examples in the New York guide) are also at risk of failure.
If there’s a tree on your property that concerns you, it’s a good idea to have a consulting arborist take a look and assess the risk. Consulting arborists have no financial incentive to recommend pruning or removing your tree, so you can feel confident they’re giving you their best advice.
As our Program Director Michael Hawkins comments, “Trees should be a source of joy, not anxiety. You can never be 100 percent sure a tree won’t cause damage in a storm, but hiring a professional to inspect the tree should give you peace of mind.”
Consult Canopy’s arborist list for searchable list of local certified professionals.
During a big storm, it’s inevitable that some weakened trees will not survive. Here are local resources to help you weather the storm:
This article from Treehugger provides good tips for providing “first aid” to your tree after a storm. But be safe! If your tree has sustained significant damage, it’s probably time to call an arborist who can assess whether the tree will recover, or if it’s time to remove it before it becomes a hazard.
Storm coverage and resources from the Palo Alto Weekly: