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Experts Suggest Getting An Early Start On Tree Maintenance To Avoid Disaster

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Now that spring is here the yard work can begin.

There are a few things you should know to keep your home safe from falling trees and save you from disaster.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported, April showers bring more than just May flowers. With rain and windstorms coming, arborist Dr. Carsten Glaezer said now is the time to inspect your trees.

"It's a long-term investment in your property, that's a great asset," Dr. Glaezer said.

Arborists said with a 70 to 80-year-old tree homeowners should do yearly check ups to look for key signs of weakness.

Glaezer said trees can look perfectly healthy, but unseen decay can be a problem.

"There can be the unseen decay which reveals itself through its fungal fruiting bodies, the mushrooms we see," Dr. Glaezer said.

Your trees send distress signals before toppling. In the city, the Parks Department tags trees for removal.

The first step is for Con Ed to address the branches that are touching power lines.

"The tree that was here was struck by lightning. It did fall this way, damaged neighbors car, damaged windows, my doors, and that is a problem. Cost a lot of money to have trees removed," Lauretta Humphrey said.

Dr. Glaezer recommends checking trees each season and after big storms. You may have an issue if a tree starts to lean or roots are exposed.

"If the decay has been there for 10 years then you may have structural problems," Dr. Glaezer said.

If you start to notice critters burrowing it could indicate that there is a cavity.

"Squirrels indicate that there is a cavity, hollow, if it's hollow in a log that means there is weak wood," Dr. Glaezer said.

Dr. Glaezer said step one is prevention. Start by pruning your trees.

The city is set to launch a new tree pruning initiative.

Living in New York, homeowners can call 311 or submit a service request through the Parks Department website. In the suburbs residents can contact their township or local tree service. Tree removal can be pricey.

In past years the city paid out nearly $20-million to the injured or families of people killed by falling branches.

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