In the northeast region of the U.S., storm season is in winter and the following spring. For the southeast, hurricane season is early-June to late-November. Across the U.S., tornado season tends to move northward from late winter to mid-summer. Depending on where you live, your storm season will determine when you should prepare your trees for these damaging seasons.
For DIYers, there are many things you can do to prepare for storm season. Keep your trees as healthy as possibly with proper fertilization and nutrition so they can build strong, natural structures. Mulching will help conserve moisture in soil, promote a natural rate of evaporation, and regulate soil temperature year-round. You may also want to prune out dead and broken branches that you can reach from the ground. However, one thing you will definitely need an arborist for is to check your trees for structural weaknesses – you may have an at-risk tree that needs the extra help to stay happy and healthy through these potentially-damaging seasons. An arborist can also help you prune the branches you can’t reach from the ground.
Cables and brace rods are applied to at-risk trees to reduce the risk of weak branches or multiple stems from failing. Cabling and bracing systems limit the movement of the supported stems and branches so that they are less likely to fail during storms due to activities such as wind, snow and ice.
Cabling trees involves installing galvanized steel support cables to reinforce and strengthen the upper canopy. When installed properly, they may be difficult to spot in the months when the canopy is full, leaving your trees beautiful and well supported.
Bracing rods are threaded steel through bolts often installed on the trunk when there are multiple leader stems or to prevent a crack from widening. These rods improve the tree’s ability to bend and move with the wind while providing needed stability. By installing bracing rods, your tree will be less prone to injury, reducing potential damage to property and power lines. Of course, cabling and bracing will only assist a tree to a point. If the wind is strong enough even a well-supported tree can fail.
A qualified arborist or professional tree care company will inspect your tree to determine whether it needs a support system, as well as determine which installation method is the best option. Support systems need to be inspected on occasion, to ensure that the system remains in good operating condition.