The freak snowstorm that hit Northeastern U.S. last weekend was a brutal combination of heavy, wet snow and leaves still on deciduous trees which resulted in massive amounts of breakage. Falling limbs and entire trees destroyed cars, houses and power lines alike. While the damage of this storm could not be avoided, there are a few things you can do to help lessen the consequences of these situations.
Choosing correct tree species is a huge factor in reducing fallen and broken branches. Bradford Pear trees have notoriously weak joints that often split without provocation. Fast-growing trees, while beneficial for filling a large space in a short amount of time, have weak wood. These trees also have a higher tendency for breaking than slow-growing trees such as Sycamores which have stronger structures. If you have an Ailanthus tree growing anywhere near your home or personal property, you should consider removing it (see our post on these weak-limbed trees).
Advanced planning and proper pruning can save you a huge headache later on. Having a certified arborist inspect older trees on a regular basis is a worthwhile investment. They can clear out old, dead wood and identify and treat any prevalent diseases before they become a problem. This is especially important for mature trees. Let’s face it, nobody wants a branch sticking their roof or draped across power lines.