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Toppling trees a concern due to consistent rain

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - Several days of rain may be good for plant growth, but it's also been bad for trees. Saturated ground makes trees more susceptible to toppling.

Arborists say the average tree only has a root system that goes 12 to 18 inches deep. When the ground gets saturated, even a light wind can create danger.

“We’ll see more trees fall over in a situation like this where you you have days and days of rain, and a small wind then from the hurricane situation,“ said ISA certified arborist Jared Kibbe with Bartlett Tree Experts.

He says you need to inspect trees on your property looking for signs of the soil lifting or cracking around the base of a tree, or for ground that’s become loose or spongey.

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If you see that, call a professional arborist right away to determine if the tree needs to be removed before it falls.

Kibbe says an exposed root flare at the base of a tree is actually good because it helps keep the tree anchored. 

“Immediately around the base of the tree you want to see the roots flare out so it doesn’t look like a telephone pole coming out of the ground,” Kibbe explained. “When you cover that flare with soil and mulch it actually weakens the tree and can stress it out."

The tree’s branches or canopy can act like a sail in the wind.

Kibbe says trimming them helps. “You want to leave the major branches, thin out the inner canopy and reduce overextended weight on the end.”

He says that allows the wind to blow through the branches as opposed to the wind pushing against the tree, which could topple it.

Kibbe suggests having all the trees on your property inspected annually by an arborist to determine if there are any problems before they become dangerous.

With several more days of on and off rainy conditions still ahead, arborists warn the problem of toppling trees due to saturated soil will persist.

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