ATLANTA – Following the aftermath of the weekend’s storms, including fallen trees and damage, are you ready for the next round of severe weather? Are your trees?
“If you’re proactive on your trees, there are a lot of things you can do to maintain a healthy canopy. Atlanta is the city in the forest so we love our trees,” Josh Marotta, owner of Atlanta Arbor, said.
Much of the metro area woke up Sunday morning to strong storms that moved in from the west.
Several trees in Midtown fell Sunday as the thunderstorms pushed through the area, including a tree that fell onto a 12th Street apartment building.
Another fell near the intersection of Sixth and Durant streets. And a tree from across the street, plummeted across the road and struck a home and truck. The homeowner said there was extensive damage to his patio and home and his truck was totaled.
And, we’re in for another round of storms on Memorial Day. So, what can you do to save not only your trees, but your property from damage that comes with fallen trees?
Save your trees; do these three things
“We call it an act of nature because there is no telling when a tree could fail. This tree is perfectly healthy, but it could fail tomorrow,” Marotta said.
But if you’re proactive, your trees and property have a better chance of surviving the storms and intervening any pending acts of nature, he said.
Here's what he said you should do.
- Fix your soil; mix in different kinds of fertilizer and compost back into the soil.
“We break up compacted soil. Because all these trees are growing in compacted soil.”
- Structurally support your tree if there are two growing from one trunk.
“A lot of bifurcated trees where they have two co-dominate stems, they will end up ripping each other apart because they blow like this blowing in the wind,” he said motioning that the two stems or trunks move in opposite directions.
“They sheer themselves off. So, we can put in a cable to help structurally support the tree. It goes in between the two trunks to help them move together as one unit, instead of back and forth as separate.”
- Discuss with an arborist at least once a year.
“We use a system to diagnose trees and levels of severity before it has to be removed. There are times when there is no other option and the tree has to be removed. But if you stay proactive with your trees you can actually avoid the big costs. Smaller costs incrementally throughout the life of your home or the tree or your time in the home.”
If a tree is diagnosed as dead, dying or hazardous, a visit from an aborist can lead to a discussion of whether a tree needs to be removed or not.
During an expert's visit, he recommended walking the property with them. Take note of what they’re looking at, so you are aware of any problem spots or concerns in case you skip a year or two. But the conversation, he said, is just as important as any other maintenance you would have on something else you own.
“You wouldn’t drive your car for 10 years and never take it in to get checked. So, having an arborist on your property to see what we can do to your trees to help to make them more safe and secure is worth it,” Marotta said.
Why all the falling trees in metro Atlanta?
The most common reasons for trees falling here, Marotta said, is due to root rot, and because most of the dirt in Georgia is clay. Because of the clay, he said, trees aren’t getting good root infiltration into the soil.
Furthermore, he said, heavy storms or long periods of rain can loosen up the top layer, creating even more uneven weight distribution on huge trees.
“It’s like hanging a car off the side of the tree. If the whole thing is weighted one way, saturate what it has to hold on to and the tree fails.”
As for root rot, he said, most people don’t know what they’re looking for. While the tree itself can be full and green, the root system is decayed. Another reason, he said, he recommends an arborist visit once a year.
Invest in your trees
“It is worth it to do, because we are talking about the biggest investment outside of your home,” Marotta said.
Trees are easily overlooked, but could be worth more than a driveway or roof. It can increase the value of your home, he continued. A single tree could be worth $5,000.
The work today, Marotta said, will take time to pay off, but is very important nonetheless.
“You do have to give it time to grow and develop a healthy root system. When we amend the soil, it is not going to be instant return on it. But over time if we keep on top and make sure everything is healthy for it then that is when you’re going to get the return on it.”