As a Kansan you are very familiar with the erratic weather we have in our great state during the spring and summer months. Over the last 30 years the average wind speed for the Kansas City Metro area is 10.6 miles an hour where the average maximum wind speed is 40 miles per hour. This makes for some sleepless nights concerning our beautiful mature trees.
Ninety percent of tree roots exist in the top 18 inches of soil, and ninety percent of those roots exist in the top 4 inches of soil. This means that tree roots are very shallow and the compression plate of a big tree (the structural root plate that bears the weight of the tree is less than 10 percent of the tree’s total roots) may be shocked, causing a top heavy tree to be vulnerable to uprooting.
As a tree tugs on roots on one side and presses down on roots on the other side as wind pushes against it. In very wet soil, and if the winds are strong enough, the tree can uproot or fall over. If the tree has other hindering issues they can up root in light or no rain and light winds. To prevent one of your beloved trees from uprooting, there are a few other indicators that determine if your tree is at risk. The first thing is to look at the roots in particular, look for the fruiting structures of decay fungi, such as Ganoderma root rot. Conks, puffballs and mushrooms are also warnings that roots may be shortened or weakened. If decay fungus has been eating away at the tree for years, this can mean that the tree’s root system has been injured and can’t withstand shear and compression pressures of the high winds rolling across the plains.
Health and structure are two different concerns. A tree may be healthy, but also may have some hidden structural problem(s) that could lead to a fallen or damaged tree. The tree’s roots may be fine, but a hollow core or decay in limbs could lead to damage in a heavy storm. When examining a tree it is good practice to inspect old pruning cuts and sometimes to even drill into the trunk to look for a hollow or decayed core, this should be done by a professional.
Trees missing about 30 percent of its lower branches are approaching the frightening mark. The fewer low branches it has, the less it is able to withstand storms, because it will be top-heavy and configured badly. Wind pressure will not be distributed well over the length of the tree and this paired with a health concern can lead to uprooting. The trees that normally uproot are usually large ones, which can do a lot of damage, so the risk is very significant. The most common measure for a severely compromised tree(s) is to have it removed. That is often the only way to make sure people and their property are protected, because a tree with several aggravating factors is a ticking time bomb.
Eden Tree Service is a one crew owner operated company that specializes in the trimming and removals of small to large sized trees. Michael Corcoran and his team are equipped to handle any size residential or commercial job. We are proud to employ a climber with 35 years of experience who does not wear spikes when he trims your trees. Eden Tree Service offers 24 hour 7 days a week emergency services if you find you are in a situation where a tree has uprooted onto your lawn. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your trees.