On Long Island, Tree damage is a huge concern with storms and although severe storms will always result in some uprooted and broken trees, thankfully some preventative steps can lessen the impact.

Knowing how trees fall victim to storms can help protect your trees.

Give Room For Your Trees to Grow

It is important the trunk and branches to be free to grow, but don’t forget the roots. Mature trees can grow roots extending hundreds of feet from the trunk and this root zone should be protected from compaction. Minimize foot and vehicular traffic which can cause damage to the root system. Planting shrubs or beds of native plants around young trees helps to prevent trampling.

Plant trees when they are small.

Smaller trees establish healthy root systems much more efficiently than larger trees.

Remove the tree stakes quickly. Just like working out our muscles makes us stronger, allowing a young tree to flex in the wind results in a stronger tree.

Plant trees in groves.

Plant trees in groups. Trees planted alone or in a lawn are more susceptible to wind damage than trees in groups. Groups of five or more trees planted ten feet or less from each other are 33% less likely to be blown over. The root systems will grow to interlock, reinforcing the roots of nearby trees. If you don’t have space for multiple trees, plant some large shrubs within a couple yards of any large trees you plant.

Plant Hardwood Trees over Evergreen

Different trees are more susceptible to damage. Evergreens are popular for privacy but are more likely to come down in a storm. Hardwood trees, like white oaks and hickories, are more likely to survive a storm than pines or even fast-growing trees like red maple and birch. (Remember, fast-growing trees should never be planted right next to a house or power line!)

Taking these steps early can help prevent tree damage way before a storm hits.