Arborist urges people to prepare for trees falling ahead of winter storms

Irrigation and crown cleanings proven to assist tree stability in storms.
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 10:18 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Northern Nevada’s high desert climate experiences a variety of weather patterns throughout the year. Typically, towards the end of fall, major winds and rains will trouble the stability of trees. Old trees are more likely to fall over than less-matured trees, but both need to be watered and maintained while the climate cools.

“The big challenge we have here in Nevada is proper irrigation of trees,” said Dale Carlon, a retired urban forester. “That could entail a drip system, or a drip hose or something of that nature, but the tree needs to be irrigated. Don’t just assume that it is okay without water.” Elm and Cottonwood trees make up the majority of Nevada’s tree population but are known to have weaker wood.

In January, a big elm tree fell down and destroyed a metal bench in Idlewild Park. The elm was believed to have been there for 50-plus years. Keeping the canopy cleared is just as important as keeping the roots watered. “You remove the dead wood, crossing branches, branches headed in the wrong direction, and open up the canopy of the tree,” said Carlon. “That makes it a heck of a lot safer because you’ve got all of the dead wood out of it and you’ve decreased the amount of sail. In other words, the wind can blow through the tree, as opposed to knocking it over.”

It is recommended to have crown cleanings done professionally every 5 years, that way you can avoid injury and maintain a healthy tree.