These are the warning signs your tree may fall during next storm

Dustin Dorsey Image
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
The warning signs your tree may fall during next storm
Arborists shares what you need to look out for to see if your tree may fall during the next bout of California atmospheric river storms.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Knowing the signs of possible tree failure is a key piece of advice from arborists to prevent serious damage from fallen trees.

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A series of storms that hit California saw trees downed by gusty winds. Here's a look at the widespread damage across SF, Oakland and San Jose.

"For our clients, it's terrifying," San Jose Tree Service Inc. Certified Arborist Robert Apolinar said. "Falling on their houses, wondering if it's going to fall. So that's kept us very busy."

Apolinar has been working around the clock recently and his work is not done despite the sunshine returning.

That's because the ground is still soaked from nearly three straight weeks of rain.

Apolinar says owners knowing what to look out for can lower the risk of damage.

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The first red flag is structural issues with your tree.

"So if there are trees that were not growing correctly, that had some decay in the trunk or had root damage, those are the first to go," Apolinar said.

You can spot this by looking out for branches that split off or go into different directions - they can snap where they attach. If a branch has already snapped off in the past, the rest of the tree can be at risk as well.

This is very common with Eucalyptus trees.

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"We know that eucalyptus (trees) are candidates for failure based on their weight of the branches," Apolinar said. "Mostly, because their branches are so heavy and if there is any weakness in the attachment it will fail."

But that doesn't mean you have to live without them.

"Don't take every tree out just because you're scared, they don't need to be," Apolinar said. "And they don't need to be topped either to eliminate weight, because that's another misconception. They need to be pruned and cared for properly."

But even then, full trees still fall due to saturated soil exposing the other key concern: root issues.

MORE: Pleasanton family escapes falling 100-foot tree that broke through windows, roof during storm

Looking out for signs of diseases, like mushrooms, or knowing if roots may have been cut from construction or other factors is a must.

But if you're still worried, ask a professional.

"Now we're discussing with clients who weren't emergency situations how to make these trees safe now in case more storms return, what do we do to prevent that from happening in a few weeks or months," Apolinar said.

That way damage from the next fallen tree doesn't happen to you.

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