Storm season is coming, are your trees ready?

Eventually, wind and rain will make their way to our region – and these storms can cause headaches for all of us. This means damage to trees, and potentially big bills if a tree or large limbs fall on your house or car.

Most trees don’t fall over during wind events, but in high winds even the healthiest trees can shed limbs, be severely damaged or fall.

Be aware of the problems that can be caused by soggy ground and strong winds. Tree branches could snap and shallow-rooted trees could topple. Fallen trees are also a special concern around power lines, which can cause local power outages or even fires if damaged.

Let’s not forget about the wind storm on Oct. 12, 1962. One of Washington’s most severe windstorms hit 58 years ago, but many Washingtonians weren’t born yet and won’t remember it.

Considered the ‘Granddaddy of all windstorms’ in these parts, the storm claimed 46 lives (seven in Washington state) and injured hundreds more in less than 12 hours. In the Willapa Hills of southwestern Washington, a wind gust of 160 miles per hour was recorded.

More than 11,000,000,000 board feet of timber was blown down in northern California, Oregon and Washington combined. After an intense timber salvage effort, many backcountry roads were created and continue to be used by hunters, recreationist and loggers today.

Weather events as large as these storms may be infrequent, but the anniversary of the Columbus Day Storm serves as a good reminder to be prepared.

What can you do to prepare for the ferocious wind storms that strike our state almost every winter?

We can’t prevent storms from coming into our area, but we can reduce the damage winds can cause to our trees.

How? First of all, never top your trees. Second, keep them in great shape with regular maintenance. As this video about tree care explains, proper pruning means careful cutting instead of topping, smart staking and thoughtful planting.

Hazardous trees should be removed before they can do damage to people or property. What are the telltale signs of a hazardous tree? See the tree hazards list.

Take a moment to learn about this storm or remember past ones, then use it as motivation. Whatever storms you’ve experienced, DNR encourages you to prepare your trees before the next big one hits.

If you need tree care advice, always contact a certified arborist.

Also, learn more about DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry program and let us know how we can assist you with tree care.