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4 key tips to prepare your property for storms

Monsoon tree damage
Posted at 9:38 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 01:23:24-04

The monsoon season arrived late, by Arizona's standards, but is already wreaking havoc across the Valley.

On Monday power was knocked out to thousands and many trees were damaged by the strong winds.

Experts say now is the time to prune and inspect your trees, if you have not already, to prevent future damage.

"We're already starting to get busy because people know they are coming. Once that first storm hits, it's crazy" said Daniel Rumore, a certified arborist with Liberty Tree Experts.

With the winds and much-needed rain, comes serious damage to trees and often property. "I've seen large pine trees completely crush homes, cars, and other plants," said Rumore. "They rip up sidewalks, curbing, foundations."

Rumore said some damage is inevitable, but much of it can be prevented or minimized with proper prevention and tree maintenance, like pruning.

"When the ground gets saturated, if the tree is full and top-heavy, then the wind can blow it over and actually uproot it, and that's where you have the most damage," he said.

Experts say it is best to hire a professional for pruning, but you can do an eyeball check to know when the need is urgent. If you notice your tree leaning a certain direction or branches starting to droop near the top, it is time to have it pruned.

Also, if zero sunlight is coming through the branches and leaves, it is likely too dense. "When you prune, you thin it, so basically the air can go through," said Rumore. "Also you reduce weight on the ends of the branches so they are not likely to break."

Cathy Clarich from Gilbert, recently spent $500 to prune at least four trees close to her house. She told ABC15 it was worth the price to prevent potentially thousands of dollars in future damage.

Many of her neighbors though have done zero tree maintenance. "For every tree we prune in a neighborhood, there are hundreds of trees that don't get taken care of," said Rumore.

Rumore said there are other more technical techniques for increasing your tree strength and decreasing the likelihood of damage, like watering at certain times and expanding the root system.

Not everyone can afford to care for all the trees on their property, but if there is one near your home or exposed car, it is worth addressing before the wind returns.

Some trees are more susceptible to damage from strong winds. Shorter trees and palm trees usually hold up relatively well. While taller trees like pine trees, palo verdes, and weeping acacias are all more prone to tipping over.