With all these intense storms that are occuring in 2010 in our area, it might be a good time to take a good look at your large trees.
Trees are down all over the area – particularly white pines. The faster the growing tree, the softer the wood. Evergreens are more prone to failure due to excessive snowfall or storms according to Wayne Knoll, City Forester of Rockville, MD.
White pines really aren’t suitable for most residential neighborhoods – they can grow 75 to 100 feet by 25 feet in diameter and there isn’t enough room for the tree structure and your house on the same lot. After 3-4 years they can grow up to 4 feet a year. That once-pretty screen you planted between the yards can turn into a giant, brittle, flyswatter (see image) that can fall on a home, car, take down live wires, or cause bodily harm. The big white pine has a crown structure that lends itself to big, broken branches. The Norway spruce, the amount of surface on those needles collect ice and snow and become extremely heavy and also a very popular one, the Norway maple which have such big, thick crowns they present themselves as a target for winds, ice, rain and snow – and lightning.
The root system of a tree goes out well beyond what we call the drip line, where those last branches are dripping water. It’s sort of a myth that the roots end there. Any damage that occurs to those roots, especially the root fibrils at the end of the roots is going to have an impact in the crown several years later. This can happen with housing construction, addition of sidewalks, driveways – they all can cause damage down the line.Check with a Certified arborist to assess your trees and advise you before construction.Be aware of any dead and dying branches. Look for any branches that have been pruned in the past, some of the pruning may’ve been done improperly. You also want to be looking for any fungus that may be growing and weakening your tree. Make sure you’ve checked trees that have been trimmed because of power lines, trees with leaves that fall early or the leaves turn brown and brittle.
Consumer Awareness Note: If you do have a downed tree do not fall prey to “lumberjacks”.They are tree cutters who swarm into storm areas from out of town and start knocking on doors. They are uncertified, uninsured, and unlicensed in our areas - it’s against the law. They want to perform the most dangerous of tree care services during times of storm-stress to make a quick buck – with no protection for you. State Departments of Natural Resources have been very busy canvassing neighborhoods and ticketing these characters.
Just in case you need some help, here’s a storm update…
Another powerful storm rolled into the metro area today bringing down trees, power lines, flooding roads and Metro stations.
It became black as night , then the lightning started – “At one point we had over 800 lightning strikes,” says ABC 7 Meteorologist Chris Naille.
ABC 7 Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill says weather trackers reported the rain coming down at a rate of 4 to 5 inches an hour. The storms include half-inch to three-quarter inch hail. The storm is still pounding Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore. ”I think we could do this all over again this afternoon,” Hill says.
At 8:24 a.m. Pepco reported 103,009 customers without electricity.
Again: here’s the numbers to call if you need to contact your power company. Print these out while you can!
If you need to contact your electricity company here are the numbers and may we suggest you print these out for late if your power goes out in the future:
- Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
- Dominion Power: 1-866-366-4357
- BGE: 1-877-778-2222
- Allegheny: 1-800-255-3443
- NOVEC: 1-888-335-0500
- SMECO: 1-877-747-6326
After so many complaints about outages that lasted days during recent storms, Pepco has come out with a five-year plan to increase its reliability.
No. 1 on Pepco’s reliability plan will be the tree trimming. In addition to regular tree trimming of older trees, which will increase the space between overhead wires and existing trees, Pepco will work with communities to remove trees that are dead, in poor health or that would hurt the distribution system if they fell.