Here’s how to inspect your trees to see if they’re strong enough for Northeast Ohio’s severe weather season

The emerald ash borer is enemy number one

Here’s how to inspect your trees to see if they’re strong enough for Northeast Ohio’s severe weather season
During a February storm with high winds, this tree broke off at its root system on West 102nd in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -Winter in Northeast Ohio was a windy, and as we head into severe weather season, you may want to do a visual inspection of your trees to make sure they don’t crash onto your home.

Here’s how to inspect your trees to see if they’re strong enough for Northeast Ohio’s severe weather

Experts warn to be on the look out for a particular beetle.

“The ash trees have been getting killed off by the emerald ash borer,” according to Jeff Mueller, the Lawn and Garden Manager at the Petitti Garden Center in Strongsville.

The emerald ash borer is killing off thousands of ash trees in the Midwest.
The emerald ash borer is killing off thousands of ash trees in the Midwest. (Source: Canadian Forest Service)

“The homeowners should be aware of this especially if they are near the house or any structures.”

Here’s what to look for in the case of the ash borer:

  • Dead branches on the top of the tree
  • Branches that didn’t leaf out last year
  • Split bark on the trunk
  • "D" shaped holes where bark has split and usually sap oozing out

The ash bore does just that, it bores throughout the middle of the tree making it weak and eventually kill the tree.

When the emerald ash borer exits a tree it leaves a "D" shaped hole in the bark.
When the emerald ash borer exits a tree it leaves a "D" shaped hole in the bark. (Source: Canadian Forest Service)

It’s very common, in severe weather, that a toppled tree had rotted out in the center.

“Its not as easy to tell,” Mueller said about rotted trees.

“Look for dead branches and trees that have lost their bark. Look for rotting at the base of the tree as well as downed limbs that have rotted out.”

The other type common type of downed trees that take out power lines and damage homes, are those that tipped over pulling up the entire root system, known as a root ball.

“We are seeing many downed pines, spruces, etc. following high winds,” Mueller said.

“They have shallow root systems and catch the wind similar to a sail. If they are in wet areas and out in the open they can be very susceptible to blowing over. These should be staked to support them if possible.”

If you’re not sure if a tree is safe or not Mueller advised you contact a certified arborist who can diagnose the health of a tree.

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