Preparing your trees for storms
Hurricanes and violent thunderstorms occur across Louisiana during summer and fall, and trees may be vulnerable to blowing over or dropping large branches during high winds. Now is a good time to evaluate shade trees to make sure they are in good shape.
Trees that have large dead branches or trees that are completely dead should be dealt with as soon as possible. Dead branches should be pruned off, and dead trees removed entirely.
Look at the overall condition of your trees. A tree that is sickly, low in vigor and shows significant signs of rotten or decayed areas in the trunk may need to be removed if it poses a threat to buildings. Trees with trunks that have large cavities with extensive decay should be considered for removal because rot weakens the trunk.
Trees that are one-sided or lean significantly may need attention. Selective pruning can relieve the weight on the heavier side, balancing out the weight distribution of the canopy. After the prolonged rain associated with hurricanes, the soil may be so soft that trees topple over if the weight is not proportioned properly.
Also, look for branches that hang over the house near the roof. Although the branches may not touch the roof under normal conditions, the high winds of hurricanes can cause trees to bend and branches to flail around considerably. These branches can cause extensive damage to the roof and generally should be removed.
DeLane Ross is assistant county agent for St. Martin and Iberia parishes. Contact him at 337-332-2181 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.