Get your yard ready 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013, 08:19 PM
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1) Are your trees and plant materials safe for winter?

What to do:
Be observant! This means taking a slow walk around your property to look at all your plant material FROM ALL SIDES!

Things to look for:
1) Dead limb or trees:
-When trees are in bloom and a limb has n leaves the limb is dead or diseased it should be addressed.
-If a tree is declining where a majority of the limbs or the crown (the top) of the tree is over 40% dead a removal is recommended.
-If a tree has cavities (holes) from previous damage, limb removal, decay etc., it may be compromised. A cavity 30% or more in a limb or trunk is present a removal is recommended.

2) Peeling bark or fruited bodies on the limbs, trunk or roots are a sign of rot and decay. Fruited bodies are basically a mushroom type growth that presents itself when decay is present.
-Are the roots heaving? If a tree is suddenly leaning and the roots and ground have raised or come out of the ground it warrants immediate removal.
-Are there extremely wet areas on your property? When the ground is extremely or constantly wet the roots that stabilize a tree will be rooted in mud which is a recipe fro blown over trees in high wind, wet snow, ice, etc. if at all possible remove plant material that may be at risk or have a professional fix the drainage issues in your yard by installing drains or changing the directions of water flow from downspouts.

3) Examine the foliage of your trees and shrubs for unusual spots, bugs, chew marks, curling of leaves or decline in appearance. This can be the sign of bug, disease or stress that can ruin plant material.
-Look for limbs that are too close to the structures on your property. If limbs are laying on your root or rubbing on your siding they will not only allow animals and insects to enter your structure but they can cause damage to the structure. Limbs on roots can rub off the roof shingles or rip off the shingles causing multitude of costly repairs. Limbs against a structure can destroy siding, paint, windows, screen, gutters, etc.
-Guidelines:
-Limbs over roofs should be 15-20’ above the roof. (Just because limbs extend over the roof does not necessarily mean they are dangerous)
-Limbs against a structure should be cut back approximately 5-10’ to protect the building.

4) Preventative maintenance to do list:
-Trim limbs to a safe healthy distance from structures and pedestrian areas
-Remove dead/declining trees, limbs or plant material
-Install strapping material in large shrubs especially evergreens to protect from breaking or peeling apart in wet snow or ice.
-Trim trees or shrubs as needed to protect against wet snow, ice, or heavy rain
-Fix areas in your property if possible where water collects or lingers too long after wet weather conditions

**Always walk your property after any storm that is severe. Many people do not take 5 minutes to look around after a storm. Just because limbs or trees did not fall during a storm does not mean that broken/cracked limbs may not be in trees or that trees may not be ready to fail as a result of other issues!
**When in doubt call a professional Certified Arborist to assist you!

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