Why are winter tree inspections important?
The spring, summer and fall seasons are often thought to be the best time of the year to perform tree inspections to determine the health of a tree. These months are indeed a good time to detect insect and disease issues, however the winter (or dormant) season is typically the ideal time to examine the structure of a tree.
With the absence of leaves in the canopy, a trained arborist is provided a clearer, less obstructed view to a tree’s overall structure. This allows the arborist to more easily detect structural issues such as broken or hanging branches, cracks, wounds, and weak branch attachments. Cables and braces are also more visible, and should be monitored for loose or broken hardware.
Insect damage is often present and easily noticeable during winter inspections. While the insects themselves are not present during the winter, signs of insect activity remain visible. Some of these signs include borer holes, sawdust- like frass, overwintering eggs, and loosened bark. The dormant season is a good time to detect insect issues in order to prepare treatment or mitigation plans for the following growing season.
Trees and shrubs can also be inspected for frost and ice damage during the winter. Heavy snowfall, high winds, and frequent temperature fluctuations can lead to cracks in the trunk, branches, and branch unions. This can be particularly true for trees in residential landscapes, which are generally more exposed and isolated to the winter elements, than those in rural settings.
Even with the low temperatures and snow on the ground, the dormant season is a good time to observe structural issues in trees. Weak branches, insect activity, and frost damage are just a few of the physical problems which should be inspected on an annual basis.
Brittany Damschroder ISA Certified Arborist IL-9196A Hoppe Tree Service
- Originally posted 23 Jan 2017