Identifying Trees That Are a Risk During Hurricane Season


Hurricane season is just around the corner and that means you need to deal with a lot of fallen branches and damaged trees. If you need to remove old and decaying trees from your property, you can search for “tree service near me” and hire professionals for the job. For now, let’s check out how you can identify trees that are at risk during hurricane season.

The Trees

  1. Limbs hanging over your roof – Over the roof of your home, there are no barriers or shades and plenty of sunlight. That’s why trees take the natural path and grow over the roof. However, as they grow unchecked, the limbs get heavier and become potential risks.

Even if the tree is in perfect condition, heavy horizontal limbs over the roof and weak joints can cause it to break down during a storm. Those heavy branches can bring down your roof if proper measures aren’t taken.

  1. Decayed and hollowed – Trees have a lot of crevices and windings. However, holes aren’t common on healthy trees. But even the smallest hole can help you peek inside the tree and check for large cavities. A hollowed tree is a dying one and very weak. It doesn’t have enough support to stand strong during unpredictable weather events.

In the best-case scenario, a few branches of these trees may come down, but in the worst-case scenario, the tree may break off from the trunk and cause catastrophic damage. It’s best to get those trees removed before the hurricane hits your area.

  1. Lean – A leaning tree isn’t necessarily a weak or dying tree. It may have found more suitable growth conditions for that path. However, that doesn’t mean that trees aren’t going to be a hazard when a hurricane hits your area. If the tee is leaning towards the garage or the home, it may fall down during a strong storm.

It’s best to get the tree assessed by a certified local arborist. They can check the strength of the tree’s root system and the likelihood of its branches breaking or falling depending on the angle of the lean and other factors like the size of the canopy and the trunk.

  1. Near utility lines – If a tree is too close to utility lines, you need to trim down its branches. Otherwise, those branches can fall on those utility lines during a strong storm and bring down the power or the internet in your area. The Tree Care Industry Association determines any tree as hazardous if its branches are hanging within 10 feet of overhead lines.

Moreover, the International Society of Arboriculture says that falling limbs from such trees may also cause fires and other types of damage. Those branches need to be removed even if they are hanging near downed lines. Those unsuspecting lines still conduct electricity and may cause a fire if dry wood falls and snaps those wires.

  1. Dense canopy and dead branches – Dead or dying limbs are an obvious risk during hurricane season. They don’t have any strength and don’t even require strong wind to break or fall down. You should consider trimming those branches and salvaging what’s left of the tree. Dead and decaying branches spread the disease to the rest of the tree and the problem worsens when the tree is left on its own for a long time.

Apart from dead branches, you should also be cautious of healthy and strong branches that form a  dense canopy combined with its foliage. That dense foliage acts as a barrier and increases wind resistance. Unlike other trees that have sparse leaves, a tree with a thick canopy doesn’t allow wind to pass through and takes all the brunt of strong windstorms.

If the wind is consistent and strong enough, it can even uproot perfectly healthy trees with a strong root system. With that out of the way, let’s check out what you can do to minimize the risk from hazardous trees. 

  1. Prepping for the storm – Check on weather forecasts and if there’s a possibility of a hurricane or storm within the next few days, you need to bring down the risk factors of trees on your property. If the tree has a thick canopy, strategically remove branches to create gaps in between. Make sure that you don’t trim down more than 25 percent of the canopy. Only remove the inner branches so that wind can pass through without any problems.

You can also take long-term measures to reduce risks. Inspect trees for weak and leaning branches and prune them down during the dormant winter season or during early spring. If you hire an arborist for the job, make sure to check their license and insurance so that you get quality service and aren’t liable for damages if unfortunate accidents happen on your property.

After the branches and canopy are trimmed down, make sure to dispose of all the branches responsibly. You can donate them to local authorities or turn them into wood chips for compost, mulch, or personal use. If cut branches are left in the open, they can become projectiles during a storm and cause catastrophic damage to property and immense loss of life.

  1. Things to do after the hurricane passes over – After the hurricane passes over, you need to get into damage control mode and save as many trees as possible. Inspect the area for downed power lines, contact emergency services and keep others a safe distance away from broken utility lines.

Check your property and remove trees or branches that are blocking access to your home. You also need to cut down split or leaning trees that have a higher probability of falling down and causing more damage.


Identifying risky trees before hurricane season is very important since it helps you fix the problem and prevent injuries or property damage. If trees are in bad shape after the hurricane, you can search for “tree service near me” and hire professionals to save them or remove them from your property.

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