How to protect your trees from Monsoon wind damage
The Monsoon Season in Arizona typically spans from about mid June through the end of September. With the Monsoon come heavy rains, violently shifting winds, a spectacular display of thunder and lighting, and high humidity.
The Arizona Monsoon also brings with it dust storms, and damaging “downbursts.” A “down burst” is a strong “vortex ring” of a vertically rotating circle of air. At the base of a downburst are heavy outward bursts of wind near the earth’s surface. It is the wind of the Monsoon that cause the most damage to trees and as a result, property.
The heavy rains of the Monsoon make trees especially susceptible to downing as the soil is over saturated. When the high winds come, even the healthiest tree can easily be uprooted.
Your best efforts may not be adequate to prepare a tree to withstand the Arizona Monsoon. However, there are things you can do before the Monsoon to prepare your trees and diminish damage. Watch for the following that make trees more vulnerable to wind and other severities of the weather:
- The single most important thing you can do to protect your trees from damage in the Monsoon season is to keep them thin. Thicker trees are more likely to sustain damage in heavy winds than a less dense tree. A dense canopy will prevent wind from pass through easily and will create wind resistance that can cause branches to snap and break or even bring the entire tree down.
- Dense canopies combined with poor or weak root structure are a deadly combination. If a mature tree’s roots have been crushed or cut consider removing it. Also check to make sure your tree’s roots are not box bound from the nursery before it was planted.
- Branch structure should be paid attention to. Look for branches that cross and rub against each other causing wounds. Also look for excessive leaning or horizontal branches and remove them. Dead wood should also be removed, as it is dry a brittle and will not bend with the wind but snap forming a dangerous projectile that could lead to property damage. A clear indicator of potential branch failure is cracks in the branch itself. A branch with cracks will be splitting sooner or later. Remove it.
- Multi-trunked trees need special attention and care. Watch for narrow crotches (V-shaped instead of U-shaped) and identical diameters in leader trunks. This is NOT a good sign. You must choose one of the leaders to be dominate. You can accomplish this by pruning back the second branch and stunting its growth.
Following these simply tips will help reduce the amount of damage not only to your trees but your property as well.