As we enter the fall season, most of us are captivated by the rich smells and stunning hues of fall leaves. Fall presents an endless array of landscaping opportunities for gardeners in the South, from newly planted trees and shrubs to colorful perennial flowers. But cooler weather presents a few dangers, as well. As you prepare your autumn and winter landscape this year, make sure you’re aware of the dangers of falling tree limbs . . . and how best to prevent them.

Why Tree Branches Fall

split and fallen treeAlthough no landscaper is free from the dangers of falling tree branches, some trees pose a higher risk than others. Many trees have natural imperfections that cause branch breakage during high-stress situations like winter storms. Epicormic branches – branches that grow to replace injured, diseased, or pruned branches – grow quickly, but do not anchor deeply to their parent stem. This often results in breakage when the parent limb cannot support the weight of the epicormic branch. Branches can also grow with weak unions. This is not due to environmental stress, but rather because closely growing branches develop with bark between them. Joints with included bark are far more likely to fall than those without. The more bark is included, the higher the risk of falling tree branches.

How to Deal with Falling Trees

If you see a tenuous limb overhanging a power line, driveway, or building, it’s best to prune it before a storm causes additional damage. If you feel safe removing the branch yourself, do so. In many cases, it’s best to let a professional tree removal service handle the removal of dangerous tree branches. After winter storms, walk the grounds to make sure no trees were damaged.

Want to know more about choosing, planting, and tending Alabama shade trees? Call 3am Growers and speak with one of our qualified horticulturalists.

photo from flickr

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