Winter winds are on the way | The Evergreen Arborist

Make sure your trees are in good enough shape to weather the winds.

  • Wednesday, November 18, 2020 9:30am
  • Life
Dennis Tompkins, "The Evergreen Arborist"

The recent windstorms remind us to think about the approaching storm season if homeowners have concerns about their own trees, the neighbor’s trees or those in a greenbelt or common area of a homeowners association.

The following tips should be considered to ease concerns about the health and safety of trees.

Check your own trees. Trees should be assessed to determine if there has been recent breakage of large branches or tops, if clearing has exposed trees to high winds, if construction or new landscaping activities have altered a tree’s growing environment or if a structural defect is visible. If any of these conditions exist, caution is advised.

Be aware of the location of trees and structures in relation to the direction of prevailing winds. In the Puget Sound area winds tend to originate from the south or southwest. However, local conditions may alter the direction: for example, some of the strongest winds in the Buckley and Enumclaw areas originate from the east or northeast.

Pay particular attention to recent tree failures. Trees that fall and expose their root balls often have a root disease. When the loss of anchoring roots reaches a critical point, they no longer will support a tree during severe weather and saturated ground conditions.

Old stumps and root balls often provide clues as to what caused a tree to fall. If a root disease such as laminated root rot is discovered, adjacent trees may be infected since the fungi usually spread by root-to-root contact. Suspect standing trees can be inspected by a trained eye to determine if root rot is present.

Conduct a hazard assessment. If you are truly concerned about a tree’s safety, an inspection by a certified arborist or tree risk assessor will help to identify any structural, health or environmental issues that may render a tree “hazardous.”

While it is impossible to predict if, when or what kind of failure may occur, a tree’s long-term health and safety can be evaluated. In the majority of the hundreds of assessments I have performed, little or no action has been recommended unless a root disease or structural defect is discovered.

Pay attention to weather forecasts. Forecasts for most windstorms generally have been on the mark. Often, forecasters will predict when and where severe gusts may be anticipated. Interestingly, many strong gusts often happen at night.

Consider altering your lifestyle for a few hours. Many residents tell me they sleep in basements or carry on activities in sections of the home that are located away from trees in their yards when severe conditions are forecast.

Beware of “doorbell arborists.” I have often been asked for a second opinion about recommendations made by individuals who canvass neighborhoods soliciting tree work. In nearly all cases, a different perspective was provided that saved trees and thousands of dollars for homeowners.

If such solicitors claim to be “arborists,” are they actually certified? If so, they should be able to show proof of certification from the International Society of Arboriculture. There is a difference between having a homeowner’s best interests at heart and that of a tree service that pays a commission to an uncertified “doorbell arborist” to promote their pruning or tree-removal activities.

Fortunately, few residents are injured in their homes by falling trees. But we have all heard about close calls. So, if you are concerned about trees during severe weather, consider the above steps to prepare for the approaching storm season.

Dennis Tompkins is an ISA certified arborist, ISA qualified tree risk assessor and Master Gardener from the Bonney Lake-Sumner area. He provides pest diagnosis, hazardous tree evaluations, small tree pruning and other services for homeowners and businesses. Contact him at 253-863-7469 or email at dlt@blarg.net. Website: evergreen-arborist.com.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Life

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD
Car review: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD

By Larry Lark, contributor If you want something truly special, get in… Continue reading

Image courtesy Public Health Insider
Pausing use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine | Public Health Insider

The vaccine may be connected to several rare cases of people developing blood clots after receiving it.

KCLS sign
Enumclaw library to open April 7

There will be modified hours, and entrance to the library will be staggered every hour.

2021 GR Supra 2.0
Car review: 2021 GR Supra 2.0

By Larry Lark, contributor Cars seem to be built for stages of… Continue reading

2021 Genesis G80 RWD 2.5T Prestige
Car review: 2021 Genesis G80 RWD 2.5T Prestige

By Larry Lark, contributor The 2021 Genesis G80 RWD 2.5T Prestige is… Continue reading

You can help keep the downtown fire pits lit by donating to the Chamber of Commerce at https://paypal.me/EnumclawCommunity?locale.x=en_US
Chamber pushing to keep fire pits on Cole Street

Will Cole Street continue to close on weekends, even after the pandemic is through?

Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is one of several local state parks that you can visit for free on April 3 and 22. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks
State Parks announces two free days in April | Washington Sate Parks

Visitors will not need a Discover Pass on April 3 or 22.

Image courtesy Public Health Insider.
Fewer TB cases in King County could be due to a decline in testing | Public Health Insider

Public Health officials are concerned about impacts on TB control in the wake of COVID-19.

Visitors walk along a boardwalk through a marshy area in the Longmire Meadow on the Trail of the Shadows in this public domain image taken from the National Parks Service.
Hitting the hiking trail to escape pandemic-induced ennui? A bit of preparation could save your bacon

It’s been quite the year for search and rescue operations at Mount Rainier.

Cast members have been rehearsing for their upcoming virtual performance of "Alone, Together." Among those taking part are Jasmine Dumontet and Mateo Cuadros, who perform a dance number from the scene "But Here I Am." Photo by Kevin Hanson
Image courtesy Public Health Insider
Vaccine eligibility is expanding. But what about the vaccine supply? | Public Health Insider

Please don’t jump the line — demand is still outpacing supply.