Scientists are not all agreed on why our winter weather is increasingly stormy; many attribute it to global warming. But the fact remains, our winters are becoming increasingly windy and wet and we need to take precautions to help us avoid property damage and even save lives! Tree owners need to be aware that they have a legal and moral responsibility for their trees. Normally a wonder of nature and very beautiful, trees can also be very dangerous – perhaps even lethal – in storm conditions. Tree owners should take preventative measures before winter arrives to check their trees thoroughly. An inspection should include:
Check the trunk for rot or decay – any sign that the trunk is not healthy. Look for dead branches Check the ground around the tree, especially if it is on a slope. Look for signs of earth movement or slippage. If there is doubt over any aspect of a tree’s health or any potential safety issues, best to call in a tree surgeon for a professional assessment; remember that some tree surgery companies will offer a free assessment service. And if remedial work needs to be done, call the professionals, this is not a task for the amateur! Tree work is a dangerous task for those without training and the correct equipment; this is definitely not a diy job. Insurance companies usually state somewhere in their small print of their policies that a home/property owner requires to keep good maintenance practices and they will generally not pay out where maintenance has been neglected. This applies to damage caused by falling trees or falling tree branches. If trees have not been inspected regularly and duly maintained, any insurance claim for damage caused by trees may be rejected. An inspection report from a tree surgeon could go a long way towards proving due care has been taken. Most people know how to contact emergency services in a crisis: police, ambulance, fire crew, coastguard. Perhaps another emergency service needs to be added to the list: tree surgeon. Many tree surgeons operate an emergency callout service and will respond to storm damage situations, either to ‘make safe’ during the height of the storm or to clear the aftermath of storm damage. Being able to call an emergency tree surgeon service quickly in a crisis situation could prevent very costly and devastating damage to property and may even save lives. Check out your local tree surgery services and get prepared!