Tree Surgeon Storm Preparation: How To Protect Your Trees

Protecting your tress against the brutal winter weather can reduce stress trees get when storms hit. The summer can bring some damaging results as well.  Heavy snow, freezing rain, lightning, high winds or a combination of any of these severe weather conditions and put stress on your trees.  This can occur from the root systems right up to the branches and leaves.  Correct tree maintenance can minimize damage to your trees and property, maximizing your safety.

It’s a simple fact: healthy landscape trees endure summer storms better than unhealthy trees. There are three factors that come into play when you’re preparing your trees for high winds and severe weather: the density of the tree canopy, the strength of the branches and the health of the root system.

Preventative Pruning

Regular tree maintenance can mean a world of difference when it comes to tree strength during a storm. Preventative pruning to thin the top of the tree – the canopy – reduces wind resistance and in turn, the force that can damage branches or even the trunk of the tree. In addition, pruning removes dead branches that can break easily, causing damage to the tree and the surrounding landscapes. Strong branches are better able to withstand high winds. Both the size of a branch and the size of its attachment to the rest of the tree determine its strength, so careful evaluation is needed to determine which branches may need to be removed or reinforced by cabling and bracing.


Protecting the root system of the tree is important, too. A wide mulch ring around the base of the tree removes the need to use lawn mowing equipment close to the roots of the tree, minimizing damage, and also allows water and nutrients to drain down through the soil to the roots.

Lightning Protection

In addition to the excessive forces that come with summertime storms in the form of high winds, lightning is also a concern with summer storms. Lightning will strike anything that provides a good path for the electrical charge to travel from the storm cloud to the ground, including trees. Installing lightning protection systems in valuable trees can help prevent damage.

Your local arborist may recommend a lightning protection system for your landscape trees that directs electrical forces down a series of wires and into the ground, away from the tree itself. To learn more about preparing your trees for summer storms and severe weather, contact your local tree doctor or visit the Arborist Advice service.

Watch for Cavities

An open cavity in a tree’s trunk, just like in a person’s mouth, creates a weak spot in the entire structure. A tree with strong, healthy wood is more likely to survive destructive, stormy weather. Have a professional arborist inspect your tree if you suspect weakness.