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EFFECTS OF HEAVY RAIN ON TREES

It’s not uncommon to see toppled trees in Tulsa, Oklahoma after a heavy rainfall.  While rain can be a good thing for trees, too much of it can cause trouble.  Unfortunately, no tree is safe from Mother Nature and all trees have the potential to fail from extreme weather.

RISK FACTORS

Some trees are more vulnerable to damage from heavy rainfall.  Trees with compacted soil can easily topple if the ground is soaked.  When the soil is compacted, air space is reduced and the roots grow closer to the surface with less grip on the earth around it.  Trees with large canopies that are top heavy are also more likely to fall when the ground is saturated.  Trees that grow in restricted spaces, such as between a sidewalk and a structure are also susceptible to toppling.  If a tree’s roots do not have room to grow and expand, uneven weight distribution will result undermining the structure of the tree.  Lastly, certain types of trees are more likely to sustain damage from extreme weather.  For example, the Bradford Pear, an especially popular tree in Oklahoma, has multiple trunks and weak crotches that leave it more likely to suffer from the effects of weather.

This tree had a fungus at the base that caused it to fall into a house during a period of heavy rain.

SIGNS

The most telltale sign that a tree is at risk for toppling over is cracked soil.  When soil is saturated in excess, roots can no longer hold and the soil will actually move and form cracks.  Exposed roots may also be visible.  Trees that are leaning are also at risk for falling as a lean usually indicates root damage.  Cavities, discolorations, or the presence of fungus at the base are other warning signs.  After a period of heavy rainfall, it is important to keep an eye out for root rot.  Root rot occurs when an excess amount of water prevents the soil from draining properly and as a result, the roots do not receive enough oxygen and die.  Signs of root rot include roots that are black in color and mushy or soft to the touch.  The leaves may also become wilted or brown.  A tree suffering from root rot will likely need to be removed, though in some cases, adequate water drainage may help.  A Certified Arborist will be able to determine the best course of action.

REDUCING THE RISKS

The risk of a tree falling can never be completed eliminated.  However, regular maintenance will help reduce the risk.  Regular pruning to remove dead or declining branches and an overall canopy reduction and/or thinning can help reduce damage during extreme weather.  In some cases, mulching and/or irrigation may be beneficial to improve soil conditions and reduce the risk of root failure.  Cabling may also be done to help reinforce weak parts of a tree and stabilize it.  Regular inspections by a Certified Arborist are recommended to help ensure the health and structural integrity of your trees.  A Certified Arborist is trained to detect signs of decay, disease, or rot and other factors that may contribute to susceptibility to extreme weather conditions.

This tree had a weakened root system due to root rot and came toppling over during a rain/wind storm.

CONTACT A TULSA CERTIFIED ARBORIST

Don’t wait until heavy rains cause damage to your property.  Preventative maintenance is important when you live in a place like Tulsa, Oklahoma with lots of rain and other extreme weather.  Contact Jake at TREES BY JAKE for a hazard evaluation by a Certified Arborist.  If you have sustained tree damage due to weather, we offer 24/7 emergency tree services.  Call or text us at 918-500-9955 and don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!