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News Release
Proper pruning by certified arborists promotes healthy trees
Proper pruning by certified arborists promotes healthy trees
Caring for trees now protects against future damage (Photo) - 09/10/20

Vancouver, Wash. – Gusty winds and hot, dry weather can take a toll on trees. But healthy trees are better equipped to handle it. According to Vancouver Urban Forestry, now is a good time to keep trees watered and have them professionally inspected and serviced if needed to protect against future storm damage.

“Trees are amazingly resilient,” Charles Ray, City of Vancouver Urban Forester said. “Just because a tree is mature doesn’t mean it will fail. Most trees fall because of a defect or health issue, such as decay, shallow roots or dead branches. The key to storm-resistant trees is proper care and pruning.” 

Research suggests twice as many trees are actually removed after a storm event because of perceived fear, not because the trees are actually dangerous, Ray said. Trees are biologically engineered to adjust to wind loading. Healthy trees develop trunk wood and stabilizing roots to provide strength in response to wind events and to withstand future events.

“Most of the tree damage after a storm is on trees that either have been previously topped or have not been properly pruned,” Ray said. “Proper pruning establishes good branch structure and removes dead or decayed limbs.”

Proper pruning can also carefully thin the tree crown, correct hazards, and enhance tree shape and size. A tree that has been topped – the practice of indiscriminately removing large branches and tree tops – is more likely to break or uproot in severe weather than a tree that has been properly pruned.

Likewise, slow, dispersed, regular watering during hot, dry summer months will help trees develop deep roots, more able to withstand stress. Young trees need about 10-15 gallons of water once per week during the summer months. Older trees may need extra water, too. In general, use approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter each time you water.

“Healthy trees can add significant value to property,” Ray said. “Removing trees can be expensive.” 

In the City of Vancouver, all trees within the right-of-way require a permit for removal and must be replaced with an approved street tree. Removal or major pruning of other trees may also require a permit.

If you are concerned about your tree or trees, call a certified arborist to assess the health and safety of the tree and provide sound options. Advice on hiring a professional tree care provider and a list of certified contractors is available online at www.cityofvancouver.us/urbanforestry under the Tree Permits section or by calling Urban Forestry at 360-487-8308.

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