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Just like you, proper health and "fitness" benefit the lives of your trees, too!

Pump Some Iron... For Your Trees!

August 19, 2014

Would you rather take a morning jog in the park, a brisk walk around the block with your dog or a country road adventure on your bike? Whichever is your favorite way to stay fit, you can count on summer’s warm, sunny weather to present the perfect opportunity to keep your body strong and healthy by exercising outdoors.

Getting up and moving around is great in any sense, but exercising outdoors provides added benefits we may not be able to take advantage of in the cold, winter months. We are able to increase the intensity of our workouts from wind resistance, experience different terrains, breathe in the fresh air and spend some time with our favorite friends outdoors—our trees!

It’s just as important for your trees to be strong and healthy as it is for you. As we enjoy our summer exercise regimens outdoors before it’s time to head back to the indoor gym, we need to incorporate our trees into that daily jog, walk or ride and prepare them for one of their biggest summer threats: hurricanes.

Regardless whether your region often encounters hurricanes, preparing your trees for severe weather will help save money, your property and the long-term health of your trees.

From now until November, we are in the thick of hurricane season. Although it’s impossible to predict exactly how much a hurricane will damage your trees and property—let alone whether one will hit at all—it is possible to help prepare your trees for hurricanes that may hit down the road. Preparing your trees for the worst will help save you money, your property and your tree’s health. The first and foremost way to prepare your trees for inclement weather is by ensuring they are strong and healthy enough to stay alive in a summer storm.

4 ways to keep your trees strong:

1)     Precautionary pruningPrune or remove tree branches that have rotted or are rubbing together, broken or narrow and weak. When it comes to building your trees’ strength and resistance against storm damage, a good starting point is pruning. Precautionary pruning can help protect your property from windborne branches that could potentially hit roof shingles, house siding, windows and gutters. Just remember over-pruning allows more wind to blow through a tree, which could cause just as much harm during a hurricane than no pruning at all.

2)     Limit lopsided crowns. Maintain a stable center of gravity; remove any branches that are leaning on the side. A hurricane’s winds can range anywhere from 74 to more than 150 miles per hour. Because those are likely higher winds than your trees have ever experienced, removing leaning branches decreases the pulling effect, as well as the likelihood of breakage and uprooting in heavy winds..  

3)     Stake before the storm. Stake your trees to help keep them upright and help prevent damage to the roots and trunk in heavy wind. Some trees, specifically newly planted trees and trees planted in recently cleared areas or in loose soil, may need some added support and strength. A good rule of thumb when it comes to staking is to support the tree at its trunk around one-third of its total height to stabilize the lower third of the tree.

4)     Perfect placement. Always plant trees away from utility lines and structures and in open areas to allow root systems to expand nearly 20 to 30 feet from the trunk. Although hurricane season is not the opportune time to plant new trees, especially if you live in a hurricane-prone region, but taking certain precautions when first planting trees can help them grow strong. Planting trees that will grow strong, sturdy and more wind-resistant may help protect your landscape and home. Look into planting live oak, sabal pine or southern magnolia, which were the most wind-resistant in previous season’s disastrous hurricanes.

Not in a hurricane region? Even if you do not live in a coastal region where hurricanes commonly land, you may still receive extreme weather conditions like substantial rainfall, river and stream flooding and strong winds. Remember that huge gusts of wind can rip leaves off your trees’ canopies and scatter them right into your gutters, limiting drainage and causing damage to your home.

Now that you know the proper precautions you can take before a hurricane hits, you can incorporate some tree care into your daily exercise routine as well. Your trees need to be just as strong as you are, especially when inclement weather hits! It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your trees and the value of your property.

Contact your local, professionally trained Davey arborist for a free consultation on pre-storm tree maintenance. We are ready to help you make your trees as strong as they can be!

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