I’ve Got A Guy Tree Service Offers 3 Tips for Readying Your Trees and Bushes for Winter

Fall and winter weather in the Pacific Northwest means wind, wetness, and even the possibility of snow. As the weather in our region changes, it is important to prepare accordingly. One of the main focuses should be on the trees and bushes around your property.

I have a Guy Tree Service that, in addition to stub grinding and other services, routinely provides expert pruning, pruning, and removal of trees. The Bellingham-based company, owned and operated by third generation tree climber David Otis and his wife Kaela, has 15 years of combined experience safeguarding your property from potential hazards. Here are just a few tips when considering whether or not your trees need maintenance:

# 1: look for signs of putrefaction

A rotting tree is a weak tree, and a weak tree means that a wind storm can bring that tree down on anything in its path. There are several signs of rot to look out for, says Dave.

A rotting tree is a weak tree, and a wind storm can mean it will land exactly where you don’t want it. Courtesy photo I have a guy tree service

The first is the significant growth of mushrooms or other fungi on or around the base of the tree. Even if there are no fungi, according to Otis, it is important to examine the base and root structure of the tree where it meets the ground. There are often small crevices where you can put your hand at the base of many trees. If you do this pulling out wood that appears rotten, the core of the tree is likely rotten too.

Another possible indicator of rot is a split trunk. Split trunks are unique features in some trees where the trunk is actually split vertically. According to Otis, this part of the split trunk is often one of the weakest spots on a tree, although that doesn’t always mean you should just cut the tree down.

Preventive measures like wiring and bracing such trees can help stabilize them. However, if there are fungi or other stem diseases in the presence of a split stem, it may be necessary to fell them. In any case, Otis approaches the tree removal on a case-by-case basis.

“I don’t want to fell a tree for no good reason,” he says.

# 2: Prune the trees for safety

A good rule of thumb for whether or not your trees need pruning is how much light you can see through them.

I have a guy Kaela Otis (along with Odin) is ready to help you with your tree needs. Courtesy photo I have a guy tree service

“If you can’t see light through it – if you look up and it’s really thick and like a wall – it means no wind is going through it,” says Otis.

If so, consider a service like crown reduction. This is the selective removal of living branches to reduce the height of the tree canopy, which allows the wind to flow through the tree more efficiently so that the main load of a wind does not hit it directly.

Also, consider cutting excessively large or heavy limbs – dead or alive – as those hanging over structures or vehicles can easily cause property damage if you fall. And a pruning is often necessary even for healthy trees, says Otis.

“Even healthy trees have small dead branches,” he says. “That doesn’t mean the tree is unhealthy, it just means that some of the limbs have died.”

# 3: watch out for rainfall effects

There is no shortage of rainfall in our region and it is important to note that a lot of rain can loosen the soil around trees. This makes it easier for them to tip over in the event of a wind storm.

A recent poplar removal that was completed in time for storm season in Whatcom County. Courtesy photo I have a guy tree service

Otis says dead or dying trees are most likely to fall, so it’s best to remove them to prevent loose, wet soil from causing problems. However, there isn’t much you can or need to do to keep trees healthy.

In the rare event of a Pacific Northwest snow event or ice storm, there’s not much you can do either. According to Otis, the only real preventative maintenance for ice is to make sure branches aren’t hanging over anything they’re not supposed to fall on.

“Every ice storm we’ve had has destroyed many healthy limbs,” he says. “The ice sticks to them and makes them so heavy. They just fall off. “

Featured photo by Hannah Zoe

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