Prepare your trees for winter weather
Winter storms can produce destructive forces of wind, heavy, wet snow and thick layers of ice, all of which can take a substantial toll on trees. The compromised trees, in turn, can become weapons against your camp and cause significant damage to your property. Weakened trees also can become liability issues at your camp.
Preventative measures and proper care of trees can save your camp from unwanted damage and reduce the risk of injury to people who work at and visit your camp.
Conduct an inspection
Complete a visual inspection of trees that are close to camp buildings and high-traffic areas. Clear buildings of overhanging branches as they can cause damage to siding and roofs from continuous scraping.
Keep branches and foliage well-trimmed, as excessively thick branches and foliage can prohibit proper drainage of water, contribute to the accumulation of debris and catch more wind than well-trimmed branches.
Call in the experts
Contact a professionally qualified tree service to determine if your trees are assets or liabilities to your camp and have a professional help you perform the recommended maintenance.
Inspecting trees in the fall and winter without the extra foliage provides a good visual of how trees and branches will react to high winds and the weight of ice and snow.
Get ready for the storm
A professional tree service or arborist will look for signs of decay in trees' root systems and trunks and inspect crowns of trees for dead branches or other indications of weakness.
A professional might suggest installing a cable or cables in trees to reduce stress damage from high winds, heavy foliage or the weight of snow and ice so the trees can better withstand severe weather conditions and improve their longevity.
Be on the alert for downed trees, branches
When tree limbs and branches break or crack from the weight of snow or ice, they often remain in the tree canopy. Hanging limbs can be a danger to people and property and should be removed.
Contact a professional tree service to remove dead or damaged trees or limbs and request a COI (certificate of insurance) as proof of the company's insurance.
Notify your utility company immediately if you have broken branches entangled in power lines. Keep clear of areas beneath and around damaged trees and power lines. All utility lines should be considered energized and dangerous. Have the utility company’s phone number readily available at all times in case of an emergency.
Take steps now to reduce the risk of property damage and injuries and put a maintenance plan in place with the help of a professionally trained arborist or tree service. For more information, contact a forestry management or natural resources department office in your area or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Visit https://www.churchmutual.com/campsafety to review more safety information.