2 Simple Fall Tips for Tricky Trees

When high winds blow, Virginia trees sometimes fall.

We treasure big trees, right? They have that nostalgic and aesthetic draw when looking for a house or driving down a lined street. Trees give us beauty, shade and wildlife. But they are tricky when they represent a massive threat to our homes – literally. 


In April, this large tree branch came down in Irvington, VA from a EF1 tornado.

A mature oak tree in Virginia can top out at more than 80 feet and weigh in at 20,000 pounds or more. NOT something you want dropping in on you during a storm! Even a CAT 1 hurricane can produce winds that cause large branches of trees to snap and shallowly rooted trees to topple. 

The Duvall’s story really says it all. Kate was preparing her nest in anticipation of the couple’s first child when a large tree brought catastrophic damage to their “forever home”. You’ve got to watch to find out how it ends (yes, it's happy)! But we know from these types of member experiences that your home needs to be well protected.

How? Just follow a couple rules of thumb and do some simple maintenance.

1. Trim that tree

Twice a year, spring and fall. You’re looking for dead, damaged branches. And maintain a minimum of 10-15 feet between healthy branches and your home and other property. Fall wildfire season in Virginia runs from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 each year so having a defensible space around your home can protect it.  And those Virginia ice storms add tons of weight to tree branches, causing them to break off when they wouldn’t otherwise.                                                         


2. Check its health

Is the foliage full and healthy looking? Root problems are often reflected in what’s above the ground. Check a few more things:

  • Splits or cracks in the trunk
  • Leaning trunks
  • Crossing branches
  • Decay or hollow areas
  • V-shaped trunks (bad) vs. U-shaped trunks (good)
  • mushrooms growing on trunks

If you’re not sure you should consult a certified arborist in Virginia. These specialists are skilled tree care professionals- we recommend avoiding drive-by solicitations that may not have proper training. If a tree's dead, it needs to be removed asap and that is usually better left to the pros as well.

That's it! So take the worry out by making those trees less tricky. Regular maintenance is the best way to protect your home and property for hurricane season and winter in Virginia. 

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