by Colin Eaton, Garden City Tree & Landscape –
The Greater Victoria area has just experienced the ninth-coldest winter on record and the 22nd worst for snow. In my 25 years here, that was the coldest winter I can remember. I have yet to pack away the long underwear!
The exceptional cold and heavy snow has possibly affected your trees. I suggest you have a good look at any trees on your property and see if they need attention. Here are some tips for you to consider:
• Heavy snow can cause overloading of limbs that break under the strain. Depending on how large your tree is, these broken limbs are not always visible from the ground, and it could be held up by other branches. A broken branch can weigh hundreds of pounds and one day it will suddenly come down. I have seen a broken branch punch a hole through the roof of a vehicle and embed itself in the car seat. Dangerous stuff!
• A limb can suffer a fracture, but again the damage is not evident from the ground. That fracture can become a future break in high winds. It will also open a wound in the tree that can lead to infestation and decay.
• This wet winter has resulted in an unusual amount of water saturation of soil. Wet snow piles at the base of a tree lead to saturation in the root zone. The unusually wet soils can loosen the anchoring of the root plate and possibly lead to full tree failure. If you see one of your trees with an unusual lean, have it inspected by an expert before it falls and causes damage.
• Snow accumulation in the canopy of a tree does not drain away as quickly as rain water. This sitting moisture can result in pockets of decay in the branch union. The decay can weaken the union leading to potential failure of a limb.
A certified arborist can inspect your trees for broken and fractured limbs. They are trained to complete any restoration repair that is required, and they can also inspect the overall tree for any decay, root plate anchoring issues and assess the overall health and safety of your trees. Always ensure the professional you chose has appropriate WCB coverage and Commercial General Liability Insurance. Please don’t try to tackle a major branch removal on your own; leave it to the professionals as it can be dangerous work.
For more information, visit www.victoriagardencity.ca.