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Are your trees in danger of falling during summer storms? Here are the warning signs

How to know if trees in your yard are in danger of falling during summer storms
How to know if trees in your yard are in danger of falling during summer storms 01:59

HINGHAM – Summer storms and unhealthy trees can be a disastrous combination. Broken limbs and uprooted trees can cause major damage to homes and cars and serious injury to people.

But how do you know if the trees in your yard are in danger of failing in a storm?  We took that question to Sean Gallagher, an arborist with Monster Tree Service in Hingham.

According to Gallagher, late summer storms tend to be the most damaging.

"Once winds are getting anywhere above 20, 30 mph, that's when things will start failing more often and coming down," he said.

Dead branches and no leaves are obvious signs that a tree is in trouble, but according to Gallagher, there are more subtle signs that your trees might need help.

"If you are trying to diagnose if you have a hazard, this is the number one sign you want to be looking for," Gallagher said pointing to a crack between the trunk and a branch of an oak tree. It's the kind of crack you might not notice unless you were looking for it.

Nice, green leaves are a good sign, but they are also the reason why summer storms can be particularly damaging because too many leaves can be a problem. "Looking up through a tree, you should be able to see sunlight," he said.

Wind needs room to move through the leaves. In a storm, if the leaves are too tightly packed, they essential work like a sail on a boat.

"Something is going to give and it's usually the tree," Gallagher said.

You also want to keep an eye out for insect damage. A cluster of holes and a sand-like substance at the base of a tree are sure signs of carpenter ants.

Tree work can be expensive, but Gallagher says spotting damage ahead of the storm can prevent serious damage or injury and can also save you thousands. 

"Maintenance pruning, over a span of years, is going to be much cheaper than losing a piece of history on your property, and also the cost of getting it off your property in a storm," he said.

According to the folks at Monster Tree Service, most tree companies will do their best to save trees and most will give a free assessment of your tree health.

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