On the heels of a polar vortex in Indiana, it seems a little too soon to be talking about tornado season. But just last month, Southern Indiana experienced its first tornado of the season. The National Weather Service confirmed the storm toppled trees and damaged homes in Oakland City, IN with peak winds of 110 mph.
Even if a tornado doesn’t touch the ground near you, high winds in the surrounding area can still cause major damage, often at the hands (or limbs) of trees.
Here is how to prepare your trees for Indiana’s tornado season so you’re not left cleaning up after Mother Nature.
Storms will sneak up on you. They’re unpredictable and come without warning. Don’t wait until you’re in the throes of tornado season to start preparing and protecting your trees and property.
Having your trees inspected annually (at least) is the first step to protecting them from heavy storms and tornadoes. Tree professionals look for weaknesses in your trees, concerning branches overhanging roofs and near windows, and root issues.
Pruning trees before high winds hit is crucial to keep you and your property safe. Whether you choose to call a professional or do it yourself, correct pruning creates a stronger tree structure, reduces wind resistance and stress, and eliminates weak or falling limbs.
During the pruning process, pay special attention to limbs that hang too close to your home or power lines. If a concerning tree is not on public property near your home, call the appropriate authorities.
Sometimes flexible steel cables are installed in weak the V-shaped joints and split trunks of affected trees, also known as cabling. The average homeowner doesn’t have the tools or experience to properly cable a tree, but it’s important to know when cabling may be appropriate.
Here are signs of a tree that may need to be cabled or braced:
- Cracked or split branches
- Large cracks or splits in the tree’s trunk
- Visible signs of decay on trunk or branches
- Severely lopsided trees
- Uprooted trees
Root maintenance is one of the most forgotten parts of tree ownership. High winds have been known to uproot entire trees at just 115 mph. This is most likely due to weak root systems.
To keep root systems strong it’s important to faithfully fertilize, water, and mulch as needed. Avoid roots when mowing and doing yard work as open and improperly healed wounds cause weakness in a root system.
Don’t get caught in a storm unprepared. Call a tree professional to help make sure your trees are pruned, cabled, and well rooted before tornado season is upon us.