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Protect Your Investment: Pruning trees can prevent winter-storm damage

Consumer Reports News: March 01, 2010 05:09 PM

Pruning trees could prevent damage to your home.
During last week's snurricane/snowpocalypse, more than 1 million homes and businesses in the Northeast lost electrical power, and a man was killed in New York City's Central Park by a falling tree branch. Pruning your trees might help you avoid injuries and property damage from fallen limbs and branches.

Dead trees and branches are most likely to pose a hazard during storms, and broken or ragged branches are more likely to develop tree-weakening diseases. Late-winter or early spring pruning is best for most trees, since it allows the tree to concentrate its stored energy on fewer branches; it's also a less busy time for tree surgeons and arborists.

Our " How to Prune Trees" primer offers detailed instructions and diagrams on pruning small and thinning branches and heading and topping larger branches. Before you do any pruning, review these instructions on chain saw and ladder safety.

More complex cuts, such as three-saw cuts to heavy branches and those to branches that could fall onto a structure or street or run near power lines, are best left to professionals. Before you hire a pro, check with the utility that owns the wires since it might prefer to manage the pruning itself.

Visit the sites of the International Society of Arboriculture, the American Society of Consulting Arborists, and the National Arborist Association for more pruning advice and help finding an arborist or tree surgeon:

Also remember to check your insurance coverage. Many insurers now require a separate, higher deductible for damage caused by certain weather emergencies.

Gian Trotta

Essential information: Our Storm & Emergency Guide offers more advice on dealing with weather emergencies. See our free buyer's guides to chain saws and backup generators (ratings of chain saws and generators are available to subscribers) and find out which emergency-kit items you should have on hand.

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