Trees in high winds – know the risks

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The past few days have seen the UK hit by thunderstorms, heavy downpours and gale force winds. Parts of the country saw more than a third of August’s average rainfall in just one night, and gusts of wind reaching 60mph.

Festivals and events were cancelled, motorists were advised not to travel unless necessary and Whaley Bridge residents were evacuated from their homes after a dam threatened to collapse and obliterate the entire village. Trees in high winds have added to the misery – cars were crushed by falling trees in Plymouth, trees crashed onto railway lines, bringing travel to a halt, and a man was left with life-changing injuries after being struck by a tree in Streatham Vale.

Sadly the weather forecast looks pretty miserable moving forward. Further storms and wet weather have been predicted, so it is important that you take necessary measures to protect your home.

Trees in high winds – what you need to know

Strong winds can have an extremely damaging effect on trees. When storms hit, there is always the worry that a tree could fall and cause damage, particularly if it is close to your property or vehicles.

There are certain signs that will indicate a vulnerable tree that may collapse in high winds:

Significant lean to one side – this is a symptom of severe damage to the tree’s anchor roots
Cracked soil or exposed roots around the base of the tree – this shows that the tree’s roots are moving more than they should
Mushrooms or fungus at the base of the tree – this could indicate dying or dead tree roots
Deep cracks or splits within the tree

If you have a tree with any of these symptoms, it is important that you seek advice from a professional tree surgeon. Without intervention or safe removal, you may end up suffering significant damage due to a fallen tree.

Remember too that it may not just be your property that is affected. Under the Occupiers Liability Act, the owner of the tree (the person that owns the land the tree is planted on) has a duty of care to ensure that visitors are safe. If property is damaged or a person is hurt and the tree owner is found negligent (did not identify that the tree was unsafe and take precautions to prevent an accident) you will be held liable.

Preventing damage to healthy trees in high winds

Even healthy trees may become unstable if hit by gale force winds. However, there are things you can do to reduce this instability:

  • Prune weakly attached or diseased branches on a regular basis – this can minimise structural issues at an early stage
  • Regularly water around the tree’s base and mulch in the winter
  • Protect trees from sunscald by using wrapping around the outer layer in the summer

Get in touch

If you are concerned about the condition of your garden’s trees as the country continues to be battered by wind and rain, please don’t delay – call Prince Tree Surgery on 01277 229709 or contact us via our website. Our fully trained and experienced tree surgeons will put your mind at rest.

We hope you found our article ‘Trees in high winds – know the risks’ of interest. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you’d like further advice.