Last year in Melbourne, we had two major storm events that saw a massive amount of devastation. Sadly, there was one life lost during the storms. The aftermath also created a mountain of work. Many tree companies were involved in the clean up and Tree Amigos spent a lot of time doing this last year
Will my trees survive the next storm?
In short, it depends. But we can take you through a basic process for how we identify some faults in trees that will give you an idea on whether your tree is lower risk or higher risk.
First of all, lets talk about what’s “safe”. Whenever we’re doing tree inspections in and around Melbourne, people want to get a solidified answer on whether their tree is safe. This is an impossible task. There are no guarantees in nature, and trees are not impervious to this rule. What we can talk about is risk. Do the trees present as a low, medium or high risk? And apart from all of the nuances that come with nature and assessing trees, there are some quick and easy low-lying fruit that you can use yourself in order to identify a hazard.
If you stand back and look at your tree, does it have a full crown of foliage or a depleted crown of foliage? Is the colour of foliage right for the species? Is the size of the leaves right for the species? All of these aspects of the tree can give your tree a score and we move on to the next section. This will give us an understanding of the trees ability to photosynthesize. Which in turn determines how much stress/ pruning it can take to remedy the situation.
This is where the branches join up to the main trunk and other stems throughout the canopy. Are they open and smooth or are they tight and compressed? This can drastically effect the likelihood of a branch failing and it can take a trained eye to identify the right solutions. Over the years we have looked at over 12,000 properties, and many more individual trees. Often the solution here is to prune or remove the limb in question, and sometimes install cabling to reduce the likelihood that something breaks.
Now that we’ve identified a problem branch, we need to look at what it will hit when it breaks. A couple of examples would be the difference between a tree in a paddock, vs the tree overhanging the kids play equipment. The same branch falling can have two very different outcomes depending on the location.
How does this apply to Melbourne’s’ storms?
Again, we go back to the nature aspect. When we’re making assessments on trees, we’re looking at the tree in normal conditions and trying to make a judgement on the likelihood it survives the next big storm. But when we’re dealing with heavy rain and high winds, there are no guarantees. Heavy rain and high winds are a recipe for disaster for even healthy trees. So when we’re looking at trees in this capacity, its important to know our own risk profile and the benefits of having the tree compared to not having it. A large gum tree leaning over the kids bedroom is different than a large gum that leans over a fence. Your own risk profile will determine what you’re happy with.
So yeah. It depends. But please take the opportunity to look up at your trees and get familiar with the health, branch structure and targets so that you can make an informed decision about whether tree removal is necessary at your home.