Expert: Rain-soaked ground could bring trees crashing down

Posted July 3, 2013

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— Tree experts are warning central North Carolina residents to look out for signs of trees toppling after storms brought a multi-day rain dousing to central North Carolina earlier this week.

The wet ground leaves trees with little to stand on, says Jeff Kish of the Bartlett Tree Expert Company, and the danger of falling trees will linger even as the weather dries out.

"We are not out of the woods," Kish said Wednesday. "A little bit of wind with this soil saturation and we would see a tremendous amount of trees falling."

On Wednesday, a tree crashed down on a utility pole, snapping it in half, on Barcroft Place in Raleigh.

"The lights flickered and I said, 'That is strange,'" said Sam Garfield, who lives on Barcroft Place. "It was just like any other rain and no heavy winds."

Just because there isn't a major storm blowing through doesn't mean trees can't uproot and fall over, Kish said. Broken limbs near the top of the tree are one warning sign of a tree about to tumble.

toppled tree Saturated soil brings danger of falling trees

"Looking down the main stem of the tree, you are looking for cavities or discolorations in the bark," he said. "At that root flair, where it flairs out into the soil, there can be decay and problems down low."

The lean of a tree can also be telling.

"If the tree is leaning too much, they will be the first to upheave and fall over," Kish said. 

When in doubt, call an expert.

"There is a risk to living around trees," Kish said. "To me, the benefits way outweigh the risks of living with them."


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