Identifying dead trees ahead of severe weather season

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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PEORIA (HEART OF ILLINOIS ABC) - When the storm arrives, it’s too late to think prevention, but on calmer days, there are ways you can prepare to keep you and your home safe. And don’t forget to check the trees.

Aaron Schulz, a Plant Health Care Manager and Consultant for King Tree Specialist ,and ISA Board Certified Master Arborist, said “With a scratch test we can determine if it’s alive or dead by checking for live tissue directly under the bark.”

The National Weather Service said “High wind from straight-line winds and downbursts can cause more damage than nearly 75 percent of the tornadoes that occur in Illinois.” It’s important to add that severe weather can take out any tree, whether it’s dead or alive.

Schulz added, “Severe weather events are unpredictable so high wind storms do cause failures of good live trees that are sound.”

Looking to the roots could offer your first clue. Schulz said, “Loose bark is one that may indicate that there is some decay or possibly a cavity underneath, or insect activity that’s compromising the flow of nutrients or water to the rest of the canopy. Soft spots when we’re sounding trees to check for cavities or hollow tones.”

The best solution is to check your tree health annually before a worst case scenario.

The ISA Board Certified Master Arborist continued, “Keeping them well maintained, using tree care companies that do employ certified arborists that understand the science of trees.” Because if you don’t --- it could cost you.

Jack Caporal, an Insurance Research Analyst said, “If your tree falls on your property, but your insurance company determines its because of your trees age or the tree was dying or rotten. Or another peril that isn’t covered like a flood or an earthquake, then your policy might not kick in.”

Insurance can pay up to $1000 for tree removal, if it falls within coverage of your plan.

You can expect to pay someone like Aaron, a certified arborist, between 75 to 100 dollars for a tree inspection at your property.

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