Storm Damage Risk Signs In Your Landscape

No one wants to experience exterior storm damage from falling branches or toppling trees, yet many people aren't aware of the risk factors that can lead to such damage. By knowing what to look for when doing routine maintenance in the landscape, you can catch potential problems before damage occurs. The following guide can help you learn what types of landscape issues to watch for.


Dead or dying wood in a tree canopy is a major cause of storm damage, particularly for trees that overhang buildings or are within several feet of a structure. Deadwood is brittle, which causes it to break off more easily. It can also be lighter than living wood, so it can be flung further in a windy situation. Dead branches are easiest to spot in early spring before the leaves fully grow in since you can easily see which branches aren't developing buds. Deadwood also often appears lighter in color than living wood, and if you snap off the tip you won't see any living green wood inside. Cut these dead branches off where they emerge from the trunk or from a healthy branch.

Overhanging limbs

Living branches can also be a problem. Those that overhang buildings are the main culprits since they can scrape against roof shingles or siding and cause damage. They may even hit the side of the house, tearing off trim or breaking windows. A tree doesn't have to be overhanging the house in good weather, either -- in strong winds, a tree near the house can bow near enough to cause damage. To avoid problems, trim branches back so they are at least 6 feet away from any structure, or further if you frequently experience high winds. Large, heavy branches should never be left to overhand a roof. If one of these were to break off in a bad storm, severe roof damage could be the result.

Poor structure

The structure is how the branches connect to the main trunk. Some of a tree's structure depends on the species. For example, many conifers have a natural pyramid structure. Any branches that extend beyond this pyramidal or conic shape are weak because they don't have the extra support of their neighboring branches. Thus, you should trim them back to avoid storm damage. Many deciduous trees have a more spherical structure, which is often achieved via pruning. Overly long branches or those that join the trunk at a top angle of greater than 90 degrees are more likely to break, so they should be removed.

For more help, talk to a landscape company about avoiding storm damage