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How to inspect your trees before the storm

Wednesday - 6/12/2013, 5:06pm  ET

tree.jpg
Sights like this were common after the June 29, 2012 derecho. (WTOP File)

Assessing the state of your trees at home

Steve Counts, assistant fire chief for operations at Virginia Department of Forestry

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WASHINGTON - Ahead of severe weather, homeowners need to take stock of the trees around their house and along their commuting route.

Many old or damaged trees were knocked out this time last year when the derecho and its straight-line winds hit the Washington area.

Steve Counts, assistant fire chief for operations at Virginia Department of Forestry, offers homeowners a list of what to look for around their home before the storm arrives.

At home tree survey:

  1. Look around your property for any damage, loose obviously broken or exposed roots near tree trunks.
  2. Look for any leaning trees, or any broken limbs above you, in the canopy, that might be caught hanging on another tree limb.
  3. Look for any loose soil around the base of the tree for any raised ridges or exposed roots.
  4. Remove furniture or vehicles away from these areas to prevent them from being thrown into trees, or being damaged by falling debris.

As far as the state of the canopy, Counts says it's the trees planted without company that are at the highest risk.

"Enclosed in the canopy itself, those trees tend to protect one another. Where you see a lot of the damage is along exposed roadways or individual trees that a homeowner might have near their residence," Counts says.

They see the full weight of the storm from every angle.

He also suggests looking for potential problems on your drive home.

"If they know there's damage in that area, try a different way home (during the storm.)

He suggests to be observant as you travel in and out of your neighborhood and plan to either address the hanging or dangerous limbs or avoid the area to stay safe.

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