When you least expect it!
For the vast majority of property owners who have lived in South Florida for at least 2 yearsand especially for those who have lived here for at least the last 14 years, you are not unfamiliar with seeing fallen trees and large broken branches. Hurricanes Irma and Katrina & Wilma respectively, have taught us that trees can fail when exposed to high winds.
However, as pictured below, trees fail in wind conditions far less than Hurricane force, as well as, fail under no wind conditions.
In fact, trees are probably one of nature’s most inherently imperfect structures, beautiful as they may be. “How” branches are connected to each other, to their central leader (primary center vertical stem) and to the trunk is what determines how “strong” and wind resistant a tree is.
Almost all trees have a few poor and certainly less than ideal branch connections. Some tree branches are attached solidly and can take a tremendous amount of force before failing. However, many branches are connected in ways that present a high risk of failure. A well trained Arborist can visually identify weaknesses in the architecture of a tree and develop a pruning plan to address those weaknesses, creating a safer, less likely tree to cause damage.
Even annually pruned trees are equally at risk of failure if they have never been “structurally pruned”. A pruning process that is only capable of being done by ,or directed by, an ISA Certified Arborist. Structural pruning is taught to Arborists by lifetime experienced Master Arborists and Phd’s who have studied and researched tree bio-mechanics. Florida is fortunate to have the University Of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) and Environmental Horticultural Department who have developed wind machines capable of blowing adjustable wind speeds of up to 200mph against trees which have been pruned in several different ways, witnessing, recording and studying how the trees respond. Some of the trees are decades old, having the benefit of having been pruned and then allowed to grow for many years, reflecting the effects of different pruning techniques.
Pruning by, or directed by, an ISA Certified Arborist may sound more costly than the commonly available, “we were in your area and noticed your trees need trimming” knock on your front door, non-trained, under or non-insured tree trimmers, but end-up much less expensive than dealing with post storm damage and clean-up. Do your trees a favor and decrease their risk by having a Certified Arborist assess your trees and discuss your pruning options. No doubt the property owners of the trees pictured below wish they had!