By Canopy Team on January 12, 2023
When it rains, it pours! As the rainstorms and heavy wind continue to bombard the Bay Area, it’s a good time to brush up on your emergency preparedness. Extreme weather, such as these recent storms, may only increase in the future due to climate change, and it’s important to protect our valuable urban trees.
This article from Davey and this guide from New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation 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.
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 a searchable list of local certified professionals.
During a big storm, it’s inevitable that some weakened trees will not survive. For downed trees on your private property, check Canopy’s arborist list, and search for companies that provide “Emergency Tree Services” (under “Other Services”).
Here are local resources to help you weather the storm. Remember, in case of a serious emergency, like a tree falling on your house or a downed power line, call 911.
Emergency preparedness resources are also available through the County of San Mateo and County of Santa Clara.
This article from Arbor Day Foundation 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.
Once the immediate danger of a tree emergency passes, look to Canopy as a hub of urban forestry education and resources for residents of the Midpeninsula.
You can find the below resources and more on our website.