Tree Storm Damage Simplified

June 26, 2024

Rough storms can wreak havoc on a forest. What happens when trees are next to structures like houses and power lines during a storm? Here we will discuss the storm damage to trees in Northern Virginia, where houses and trees are close to each other. I will also touch on the services around tree storm damage and other subjects that come up when dealing with storm damage. As an Arborist, every storm damage job is unique, and each brings its own set of variables with dealing with the tree or trees. Each project my require different pieces of equipment for the removal or restoration of a tree. Let’s dive in.

What are the different types of storm damage that occur in trees?

Tree Root Failure:
Commonly referred to as uprooting. This is the process where a tree’s roots will fail to hold weigh above the ground. There could be many reasons for the tree root failure, here I will discuss a couple of reasons for uprooting. The space in which the tree roots are allowed to grow is important for tree root anchoring. If there’s soil compaction or another obstacle for growth, the tree’s roots will be affected.
Obstacles for tree root growth includes driveways, patios, and sidewalks. Tree roots need rich soil, oxygen and water among other nutrients. A proper soil has a structure that allows materials to travel throughout the soil such as nutrients. But the issue is when tree roots are being forced to grow in compacted soils, which inhibits the flow of materials due to lack of pore space in the soil.
There are diseases that affect roots that cause structural decline in the tree root itself. Root rot is a disease that affects the roots of trees growing in wet soil. Poor drainage is one cause of root rot in tree roots. Compacted soils have poor drainage and cause the roots to be oxygen starved. In Northern Virginia, a notorious fungus that affects hardwoods and conifer is Armillaria. Poor wood density and structure in the roots can cause a tree to uproot under high winds or even in normal conditions.
Tree Branch Failure:
The tree’s limbs must have a strong structural integrity to withstand heavy storms. When dealing with winds, tree limbs can have a wind sail effect just like a sailboat, that requires wind to be propelled. The windsail effect cause be reduced with a proper pruning job that has been thinned throughout the canopy. Even the tips of the branches must be properly thinned because the branch tips contribute to the wind sail effect.
Tree branches can also be affected by disease. Also broken limbs can cause wounds in the tree that may cause internal decay and is an easy target for pest and diseases in the tree. One thing that improves the structure of a tree can be done early in the lifespan of a tree. Young tree pruning can be very helpful for promoting proper branching structure. Over extended limbs with poor branch attachments are a big reason for tree branch failure. This can be prevented by having an arborist pruning a tree early in its life span to remove branches that may cause branch failures in the future.

How arborists deal with tree storm damage

An arborist must take a 360 degree look at the tree and the surrounding area. Some defects are not apparent from the ground. Climbers have the final say when dealing with trees in tricky situations. Some situations require a crane to hoist the tree weight off the house. Other situations require careful use of surrounding trees to rope limbs from or even as a tie-in point.

First the parts of the tree that are not under tension are removed. One must take note about shifting weights when cutting limbs under tension. Once a cut is made there is no turning back. An arborist must make a careful plan for each cut under tension and make sure they are positioned safely. Each situation requires careful foresight and planning. Experience plays a huge role in this.

Different types of services to deal with tree storm damage

  • Emergency Hazard Tree Removal: This is the removal of storm damaged trees. This may include broken limbs or trees that are uprooted. Also, the tree may be more difficult if the tree is dead.
  • Storm Damage Cleanup : This includes the removing of fallen trees and fallen branches. Also, may include the cleanup of limbs that are suspended by another trees.
  • Arborist Consultation: This is when our estimator comes by and gives their opinion on a tree’s health. This may be the determining factor for removing a tree or not. Our estimators have lots of expertise when dealing with tree risk assessment.
  • Restoration Pruning: This is the pruning of a storm damaged tree. Our trained climbers cut storm damaged limbs back to healthy lateral limbs. This pruning may restore some of the appearance of a storm damaged tree.
  • Storm Damage Stump Removal: The removal of storm damaged stumps. These stumps may be a little harder than a normal stump job. This is because the stump may be vertical due to the uprooting of a tree. No stump job is too big or difficult for AAA Tree Service

Equipment used for storm damage

There’s a multitude of equipment that we use in most tree storm damage jobs. One is a bucket truck or cherry picker, which has a lift that can hold up to two people. Usually, the height the lift can reach is anywhere from 55ft to 75ft. Some trees require bucket trucks because there’s no good place to tie-in. Other reasons could be for safety so the operator can safely perform the work.
Another piece of equipment is the Crane. Tree companies usually hire a third-party company to use their cranes. Cranes are a pricey piece of equipment; some cranes can cost into the millions of dollars. Cranes are important because they can be used to hoist away large sections of trees off the house. Another tool that is used are stump grinders to grind away all the stump to a mount of shavings.

Storm Damage work is not a DIY project

Some tree storm damage like the picking up of fallen limbs is not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to trees that may be broken into pieces high up in the canopy. There are times when tree limbs are supported by lower limbs. There are so many scenarios in which all are very risky to do. These types of projects are not DIY projects because there are so many variables one must account for. One decision on a roof or in a tree may seriously injury a person. That’s why it’s necessary for an experienced tree crew to handle any complicated tree storm damage.

Dealing with insurance

This is not professional advice on insurance, just the process we dealt with while being in business since 1984. Let’s say one day, you and your family are relaxing in the house or eating dinner. Then a loud noise is heard throughout the house. Upon further inspection you find that a tree fell on the second story of your house. You call the insurance company; they will want to get a tree service out on the site as soon as possible.
The name of the game here is to reduce the amount of damage to the hole or holes the tree damage has caused. Water can come through the holes and cause more damage than just the impact of the tree. Also, there’s also a threat to the structural integrity of the house. Large trees can weigh tons of pounds and that weight against the roof or house could cause more damage than expected.

After the work is complete, your insurance company repays you back for the tree work costs if insurance is used. Make sure to take lots of photos for the insurance company. Have tree storm damage that you need help with? Ask us about our deductible free insurance claims program.
There’s lots to deal with when you have a tree on a house. AAA Tree Service can help you with that. Since 1984, we have been the premier tree service in Northern Virginia. We dealt with Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and derecho storm in 2012 that hit the DMV. We have the experience needed to safely remove trees from houses or other storm damage projects. Trust us for your storm damage needs.


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