How to spot warning signs to help prevent trees from falling during storms

Keeping track of tree health

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The city of Hoover’s forestry department is reminding homeowners of ways to be proactive before storms hit.

“Well trees can certainly be dangerous," Hoover City Forester Colin Conner said. “Trees falling through homes, falling on cars, falling and blocking roads, knocking down power lines, you know, they can be dangerous."

Conner said trees can be unpredictable depending on the storm, but being proactive is the best way to prevent property damage.

“I think being mindful of large trees on your property, not just accepting that they are growing there, but being mindful of them and looking at them," Conner said.

Conner said trees give off warning signs that tell us if they are more likely to fall during a storm.

“Looking for things like cavities,” Conner said. “Looking for things like mushrooms, leans, bends, those types of things, co-dominant branching.”

Conner said some signs come from the trunk, like holes or roots showing, but other signs can be seen in the leaves.

"Maybe a tree that looks physiologically unhealthy, i.e. it doesn’t have all green leaves clear to the top,” Conner said.

Conner said there isn’t much you can do to prevent falling once a storm hits, but says looking at your trees before and after a storm is the best way to prepare. If a storm is coming and you don’t have time to get the tree looked at, Conner said mitigate by moving vehicles or anything of value.

“Considering normal weather conditions, trees can actually withstand a lot, but sometimes over time, with openings and rot and things like that, they can definitely be prone to fail,” Conner said.

If you are unsure about the health of a tree on your property, the city says they are always available to help.

“As a Hoover resident, the city provides risk assessments and health assessments free of charge to Hoover homeowners,” Conner said.

Click here to schedule an appointment with the city of Hoover to assess your trees.

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