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(HIT) - The saying goes, "The best defense is a good offense." This is particularly important to remember when you think about protecting trees from possible storm damage. High winds and violent rain in the spring and summer can present dangers to our trees and communities. However, there are steps you can take to keep property damage and repair costs to a minimum.
The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) offers practical suggestions for reducing the likelihood your trees will not fall victim to Mother Nature's unpredictable temperament.
"Recognizing and reducing tree hazards not only increases the safety of your property and that of your neighbors, but also improves the tree's health and may increase its longevity," said Jim Skiera, Executive Director of ISA.
Beware of potential hazards. Being aware of problems before they present themselves could spare you money in repairs. Survey your property for trees that show signs of decay. ISA suggests looking for these signs of instability:
Take action to remedy potential targets. Inspect your trees for branches that could cause damage to your property before a storm hits:
Take precautions to prevent damage. Once problems have been detected, a proactive approach to tackling them is advised:
Know your tree species. Some species are more inclined to storm damage. An ISA Certified Arborist will have the knowledge necessary to determine which trees have the hardiness needed to withstand harsh weather conditions.
Do not top your trees. Untrained individuals may urge you to cut back all of the branches, on the mistaken assumption that it will help avoid breakage in future storms. However, ISA Certified Arborists warn against the dangers of "topping," the cutting back of main branches to predetermined point without regard to the tree's natural structure. The stubs that remain are not strong enough to grow back as a single, dominant branch. Instead, a flush of re-growth surrounds the stub. Trees that have been topped are also prone to internal decay. While healthy trees are able to seal wounds that careful pruning leaves, topping leaves a tree with many severe wounds that it is unable to properly compartmentalize, resulting in deterioration.
Protect your assets. Properly maintained trees may increase property value by up to 20%. Find out if your homeowner's insurance will cover any damage your landscape may sustain due to unnatural causes and include the total value of your trees when listing your assets for coverage. An ISA Certified Arborist who has experience appraising trees can provide an estimated value by inspecting your trees. Be sure to document the value of potential loss with photos of the trees and the evaluation by the arborist.
Hire an ISA Certified Arborist. When hiring a professional to assess and repair the damage after a storm, be sure you are selecting the right arborist for the job.
For more information on tree care and how to find an ISA Certified Arborist in your area visit www.treesaregood.org.
The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Champaign, IL, is a nonprofit organization supporting tree care research and education around the world. To promote the importance of arboriculture, ISA manages the consumer education web site, www.treesaregood.org. Also, as a part of ISA's dedication to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally-recognized certification program in the industry. For more information on ISA and Certified Arborists, visitwww.isa-arbor.com.
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