How to Prevent Storm Damage from Trees

White Oak tree toppled over house in Atlanta

Falling Trees cause millions of dollars worth of damage each year.

Falling trees and limbs cause millions of dollars in damage each year damaging homes and cars and downing power lines. Windstorms, such as hurricanes, are a leading cause of such damage and injury. Homeowners represent the first line of defense, but often neglect taking their surroundings into consideration when trying to protect or prepare their property from storms. The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) developed several ways to help prevent damage before a storm strikes and how to clean up the aftermath. It is important to regularly examine trees and check for damage or other trouble signs. Good pruning can prevent many problems, but over-pruning can significantly weaken a tree.

Some trees are more prone to storm damage than others. A shallow-rooted tree growing in soft soil, for instance can easily topple onto a house with the assistance of strong enough winds. The roots will pull right out of the ground.

Some trees are also notorious for aggressively sending out roots that can damage the foundation of a house, buckle sidewalks or plug up septic systems, forcing homeowners to spend thousands of dollars for repairs.

Some potential problems to look for include:
• Cracks in the trunk or major limbs.
• Hollow and decayed trees.
• Trees that look one-sided or lean significantly.
• Branches hanging low over the house or near the roof.
• Limbs in contact with power lines.
• Mushrooms growing from the bark, indicating a decayed or weakened stem.
• V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped ones. V-shaped are more likely to split.
• Crossing branches that rub or interfere with one other.

Good pruning can prevent many problems. Prompt removal of diseased, damaged or dead plant parts helps limit the spread of harmful insects and disease, as well as reduce the possibility of future storm damage.

This information was taken from Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

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