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How to Protect Your Property from Falling Trees

While we thankfully don’t live in a hurricane-prone area, we do have a dangerous combination to contend with in Western Pennsylvania—high winds and old trees. We still get violent storms in the spring and summer seasons, and when you take into account trees that are either rotted internally or simply “old,” the possibilities of a tree falling on a car, home, or person are many. In fact, if you think about it, you can probably remember when a tree fell onto a road, power lines, or a home somewhere near you.

The obvious way to protect yourself is to address trees near your property that would be likely candidates to fall in a major storm. You can look for obvious signs of damage, such as a tree that no longer produces leaves, has breaks or cracks, is leaning significantly to one side, or one that has a root system that seems to be coming “out from the ground.” You can also take a rubber mallet and “knock” on the trees to get a better feel for a hollow interior—a sign that a tree is ready to come down.

What to do with a Tree that is About to Fall Over

If you are really concerned about an ominous-looking tree, it may be a good idea to have a certified professional take a look. A pound of prevention is worth an ounce of cure. A tree that falls on actual structures is often covered by insurance, but if the tree doesn’t hit your car, garage, home, shed or other structure, the fallen tree is yours to take care of. Furthermore, you may want to take a quick look at your neighbor’s trees, too.

If you can’t, at the moment, remove a tree that looks like it might be a problem, you can always trim the tree back and remove branches. This would at least minimize the footprint of the tree if it falls and reduce the weight/demand placed on that tree to support itself.


Henry Duckstein Jr.


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