Don’t forget: It’s still hurricane season! Even though there has been no significant activity yet this year in the Gulf Coast, a storm could hit at any time.
While many of you are hustling and bustling to prepare your children for the upcoming school year, we suggest you also focus on the root of one potential hurricane hazard: Trimming and pruning your trees.
“Proper tree pruning can go a long way in protecting your property from major storms,” said City Forester Paul Wierzbicki.
When pruning your trees, look for: dead or broken branches; crossing or grafting branches; trunks or branches with signs of wood decay or fungus, or large branches or trunks that come together in a sharp “V” crotch. “These are generally the trouble-makers during storms,” Wierzbicki said.
Trimming and pruning your trees is important, but overly doing it can cause more harm than good. Wierzbicki cautions homeowners to not excessively prune trees, as doing so increases the risk of the tree splitting or “heaving out of the ground.”
Maintaining your trees by trimming and pruning them allows wind to easily blow through. During hurricanes, in which wind speeds can reach over 155 mph, limbs can become projectiles, breaking windows and damaging roofs. They also can cause serious bodily injury, even death.
Uprooted trees and downed limbs also can seriously hinder recovery efforts, said Judy Lefevers, the City’s Emergency Management Coordinator. Properly maintained trees make it easier for power crews who often have to work around the sometimes puzzle-like pains to get to power lines. Crews can work more quickly to restore power if tree limbs aren’t in their way.
Since we are on the topic of trees, we’re going to branch out and provide you another important advisory about trees from the City’s Code Enforcement division.
The drought from last year and the rains received this year have presented some challenging issues for Missouri City and surrounding areas. The drought has caused an increase in the number of trees that are dead and have become fire hazards. These types of trees also can easily become home to many unwanted critters.
The rains received this year have been much needed, but they have directly caused two important issues relating to high grass and weed violations and trees overhanging sidewalks and roadways. With this in mind the City wants to remind all citizens of the following regulations:
1. Dead trees are an “unsanitary matter” violation within the Code of Ordinances and must be removed.
2. High grass and weeds nine (9) inches or more are a violation of the Code of Ordinances and must be cut.
3. Tree limbs, brush or other vegetation less than eight (8) feet above the pavement of a sidewalk are a violation of the Code of Ordinances and must be trimmed.
4. Tree limbs, brush or other vegetation less than thirteen and one half (13’1/2”) feet above the pavement of a roadway are a violation of the Code of Ordinances and must be trimmed.
5. Tree limbs, brush or other vegetation that obscures a motorist’s or pedestrian’s view of any street intersection, sign or traffic control device are a violation of the Code of Ordinances and must be trimmed.
For more information about tree ordinances, or any other City ordinances, visit the City’s website, www.missouricitytx.gov. On the homepage, type “ordinances” in the search box.
And, if you’re stumped and need more information about proper trimming and pruning of trees Wierzbicki suggests consulting an ISA Certified Professional Arborist to help you identify tree defects and give you an honest assessment regarding your trees’ structure and health. To find a local ISA Certified Arborist in your area visit www.treesaregood.org.