During severe storms, branches are often torn free and entire trees uprooted. Wind, rain, and snow are all possible weather conditions that can result in tree failures causing damage to a property. Safety of the property itself – the buildings and any employees, visitors, members, students, or residents – is of the utmost importance. Maintenance of the trees and shrubs on the property before harsh weather is the best way to help reduce the risk of potential damage.
Pre-storm strategies include cabling and bracing when the tree has a structural defect. The installation of cables can limit branch movement, especially during high winds, while braces provide support from twisting that sometimes happens during storms. Pruning also reduces wind resistance and is useful for removing any dead or hanging limbs. If your property has any specimen trees or one or many trees close to buildings, lightning protection systems can be installed.
While it is impossible to totally protect your trees and property from severe storms, maintaining healthy trees year-round through practices like these is the best way to prevent loss of landscape plantings and mitigate risks.
Topping, on the other hand, is not a viable solution for storm damage prevention and is not recommended. This practice results in long-term damage to trees.
Keep in mind that even if you routinely care for your trees, you should still have an arborist review your property for any issues after a severe storm hits.