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Take care of trees.

Byline: Paul Rogers

COLUMN: Your gardening answers

Now is the best time to prevent winter damage.

Trees broken from the accumulated weight of ice and snow are one winter injury. Does any homeowner know this damage will happen? No, but we do live in New England where such injury occurs with appalling frequency. Think of the wholesale destruction that ice storms caused one year ago and in the 1990s.

Whether you believe in the idea of climate change or not, it is a fact that storms have become increasingly severe. The prudent homeowner does not ignore the potential for violence that has and will visit us.

A study of the tree damage caused by two previous ice storms has made us aware of the principal causes of tree failure.

Understand first that trees that have been properly maintained suffered considerably less breakage than trees whose needs had been ignored.

Trees with substantial trunk cavities were more liable to snap than healthy trees.

Trees with disease problems, especially at the root collar (the base of the tree, where the trunk meets the root system) were likely to be blown down more often than trees not weakened by trunk and root rot.

Trees with tight branching that results in narrow or split crotches can be expected to break.

Be aware that proper evaluation of tree structure and the remedial action that may need to be taken are the function of a professional - a Massachusetts certified arborist.

Act now, or repent later.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 10, 2009
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