Storm-damaged trees need help
the cyclone may have come and gone, but after a natural catastrophe, we have to continue to be vigilant with hazards.
The recent "mini cyclone" over Port Macquarie, NSW has stirred up its storm and recovery work begins to remove traces of its impact on the land. When you have powerful winds and rains belting out all they've got on an area, its impact goes beyond just what you see on the outside. This is where you need to keep an eye out for your trees.
And we don't mean to just check if they're still there. During these types of natural catastrophes, the soil can become soft and it means trees lose something to anchor themselves to. So yes they may still be there but the tree may well be stressed out not having a solid foundation. If you own a property with trees on it, it is advisable to bring in a professional to perform a hazard assessment. Do not rely on untrained eyes to determine if the area is safe or not.
After the recent cyclone hit Port Macquarie, we got a call from a client who needed help. We visited his property and performed a thorough hazard assessment. The final verdict was the tree had to be removed. This was because the tree´s root plate showed evidence of movement, and as it was located in a residential area, we had to take into consideration as well the safety of the people in the area. It was a beautiful tree and it was a shame we had to remove it. In situations like this where the inevitable happens, we can only do our best to give the tree its due respect by performing a proper, clean and dignified removal.
Australia may have been plummeted by many natural catastrophes over the years, but its people have always stood back on their feet and banded together to help each area and community recover as best as they can. Learn more about the mechanics of tree hazards after a flood here.
So now that the storm has passed and gone, what do we do?
Safety First. Take precautions.
Storm-affected trees may hold potential hazards. The ones that are more visible would be broken and dangling limbs. There could also be debris piled around and a slight movement could trigger a domino effect, and parts of the tree could snap off and fall. That is why it is vital you do not attempt to clear up the area on your own.
If there are electrical wires and cables from nearby infrastructure, these could get entangled with trees. These are potential hazards too so avoid touching the cables or trying to untangle them.
Appearances can be deceptive. A tree may look like it's standing properly, but you cannot see what the ground is like underneath and a tree can still shift or even roll. Err on the side of caution.
Try to cordon off the area and not allow anyone to walk under or around it.
Do not attempt to remove or fix anything by propping up a ladder or bringing out your chainsaw. Hazards are sometimes hidden and to the untrained eye, it may seem like there is nothing wrong. We are all eager to clear things up when an area has been heavily impacted by nature, but Safety First is still a very wise mantra.
Assess damages. Call a professional.
You can do a quick check by simply observing the area and its trees. Does the tree still look healthy and strong? Are the main limbs and most of the upward-reaching branches still there? Does the tree still have at least 50% of its crown intact? If your answers are affirmative, then the tree may well have hope of recovery. If not, be mentally prepared the tree may have to be removed. Either way, your next step is to call a professional arborist. Share your observations and let the professionals come in to do a proper, complete assessment.
Professional arborists have the proper tools, equipment and most importantly, skills and experience to know what is the best course of action for every situation. They can safely and efficiently fix mildly damaged trees or remove the ones that are more severely damaged. Getting the help of a professional can actually save you the unnecessary heartache of losing trees that could otherwise have been saved if their problems had been detected early.
At Accomplished Tree Management, we use the Quantified Tree Risk Assessment Method which is a decision-making framework to help us consider the balance between the benefits provided by trees, levels of risk they pose, and costs of risk management.
Tree owners may not think of it this way, but trees that have endured a natural disaster are quite dependent on their owners to take the best course of action to help them recover. Take the responsibility to seek help from a professional to optimise the chances of your trees recovering.
Be Prepared. Research beforehand.
This may not be something one would think of after the damage is done, but as they say, we learn from our mistakes. If we already know the area we live in is either prone to or could have the possibility of experiencing certain natural disasters, then we need to be prepared ahead of time.
If you have trees on your property, it is a good idea to research and check out a reliable tree services company in your area. Speak to them, and get to know them so you can contact them immediately should an emergency occur. This way you won't fall prey to the trap of just grabbing the first company on the list in a panic and not have the opportunity to verify if they are properly licensed or not. Getting someone who is not licensed or properly insured, or have very little experience may cause trouble not just for you, but your trees may well be the ones paying the price for it.
Professional arborists appreciate property or home owners who do genuinely care for their greenery and want the best for them. Our job has its hazards, which means unless we really love and believe in what we do, we wouldn't be doing it. Learn more about what our jobs are really like here.
Accomplished Tree Management is Proudly Australian, and every single project we take on we do with pride and respect. We have seen so many communities thrive again after being battered by the elements, and we salute all the people who have come together to help lift one another up through the storms.
About Accomplished Tree Management: Tel 0411 443 535
Accomplished Tree Management is based in Port Macquarie and services the Mid North Coast. With over 16 years of experience, we employ safe work methods and are certified with Australian AS 4373-2007-Pruning of Amenity Trees standards. We're fully insured with $20 million Public Liability and $5 million Professional Indemnity Insurance. We provide the following tree services -
Tree management - tree removals, palm tree services, council permits
Tree and garden maintenance - hedging, pruning, deadwooding, stump grinding
Tree consultation - arboricultural reports, hazard assessment
This article is written by Vermilion Pinstripes, a sales marketing and communications agency based in Port Macquarie helping businesses thrive with brand confidence.