Queensland is no stranger to storms and cyclones. It’s a regular part of Queensland life, and locals are used to this season coming and going every year. Because of this, many people are well aware of how best to prepare their homes and buildings from storm events.
What isn’t as commonly done, however, is storm-proofing their trees. Storm-proofing trees protects not just the trees themselves but also your home and property. Not to mention it can also significantly reduce the costs for cleaning and maintenance after a storm’s passed.
There are many ways to storm-proof trees, with some measures not as obvious as others. Tree pruning and root barriers, for example, may seem unrelated activities at first. But when done correctly, it can significantly improve your trees’ strength and stability.
With that said, there are some basic and proven techniques that you can adopt to storm-proof your trees and protect them during extreme weather. These include:
The first and most effective way to storm-proof trees should be done long before a storm arrives: keeping them healthy. There’s no question that healthy trees are stronger and more stable than weaker ones. They’re branches are less likely to break off and won’t cause as much damage (if any) to surrounding areas. Keeping your trees healthy, therefore, will go a long way in making them more able to withstand storms and extreme weather.
There is a variety of ways to keep your trees healthy including routine tree pruning, regular maintenance, and proper watering and fertilising. This is especially important if your trees are still young and not fully matured. Whatever measure you implement, however, remember that the trees’ ability to withstand storms largely depends on its’ health and condition. The weaker your trees are, the less likely they’ll be able to endure storms unharmed.
To ensure the optimum health and condition of your trees, it’s always best to consult with professional arborists. This way, you know that your trees are getting the proper care and maintenance that it needs to grow as best as it can.
At first, tree pruning may seem counterproductive to making your tree stronger. But if done properly and appropriately, it can actually help make your trees better suited for withstanding storms. Young trees that are pruned appropriately can develop a strong central trunk, for example, resulting in a much stronger and stable base.
Not only will proper pruning take away dead or weak branches, but it can also encourage the proper growth and structure of your trees. This not only reduces the amount of branches broken during storms but, over time, it can also shape your trees so that they are more resistant to storm damage.
Of course, the effectiveness of tree pruning depends entirely on how and when it’s done. As good as pruning can be, it can also be detrimental to your tree’s health if it’s done incorrectly. That’s why it’s always recommended to seek the help of arborists when pruning your trees, especially if you’re not sure how to do it properly. Pruning incorrectly or inappropriately may do more harm to your trees than good.
Another good way to storm-proof trees is to anchor them with stakes, especially for trees that are still young and still growing. You can install a few stakes around the trunk and connect it to the young tree with rope or twine just before a storm arrives. This will keep the tree more stable and prevent it from being blown over by strong winds in a storm.
When anchoring your tree with stakes, it’s important to remember that you should always leave enough room for the tree to bend with the wind. Anchoring a tree too tightly without space to bend can actually make it more prone to being blown over than making it more stable.
Aside from this, always remember to remove the stakes after a storm has passed. This will ensure that the stakes won’t have any long-term effects on your tree’s health.
If you’re expecting a strong storm coming, you can provide added protection by wrapping your tree with a protective material such as burlap or a row cover. This can help protect your tree from debris and elements that may fly around during storms and other times of extreme weather.
Some people also opt to create makeshift tents around young trees, especially if strong gusts of wind are expected. They do this by planting stakes around the young tree and securing a protective material around it. This effectively creates a small shelter for the growing tree that can help deflect strong winds and other elements.
You may not be able to see them at work, but the roots of a tree are critical to the overall strength and stability of a tree. Roots are what anchor trees to the ground, so it’s only natural for trees with strong and deep roots to be better at withstanding storms than trees whose roots are weak or shallow.
If you want to keep the roots of your trees strong and deeply grounded, then it’s best to minimise activities that may compromise the integrity of the soil surrounding your trees. This includes excavations, construction work, and other activities that can affect the soil system of your trees. The stronger the roots of your trees are, the more likely your trees will hold its ground during storms.
Storm-proofing trees may not be as common as storm-proofing homes, but it can definitely help homeowners protect their properties during big storms and cases of extreme weather. Prevention is always better than cure, so additional preparation for heavy storms is almost always worth the effort.
And remember: the more you storm-proof your trees and ensure their proper growth through the years, the stronger and more stable your trees will be later on. That’s because storm-proofing trees is rarely an isolated event. In most cases, it’s also an investment in the health and longevity of your trees.
As always, we recommend consulting with professional arborists like River City Trees to make sure that you’re storm-proofing your trees in the most effective ways possible. Not every tree can be storm-proofed in the same way, and some will require more protection than others. Professional arborists like us will be able to implement the best practices and techniques to suit your trees’ needs, whether it’s tree pruning or some other maintenance activity. This way, you give your trees the best protection they can have during storms, cyclones and other cases of extreme weather.