Here in St. Louis, winter weather can be a bit of a roller coaster. One day might yield a winter wonderland, the next a sunny, soggy mess. And while the snowy days might be more extreme in terms of temperature, it’s actually the warmer days, when the snow is melting, that pose the greater risk for your trees. Why? Because melting snow makes trees more likely to uproot.
Needless to say, if you’re wondering whether melting snow can cause trees to uproot, the answer is YES! Melting snow leads to saturated roots. Saturated roots compromise the structural stability of the tree, and leave them vulnerable to other forces, such as strong winds. It’s usually these winds that ultimately cause the tree to tip over, exposing their roots.
Signs Your Tree May Uproot
When snow is melting around your trees, they become vulnerable to uprooting. During this time, keep your eyes peeled for indications that uprooting may occur. Some signs include:
- Trunk leaning to one side
- Cracks in the soil around the base of the tree
- Risen ground around one side of the tree
If you see these signs, you should contact a tree service right away. It’s also best to mark the tree in some way, such as with yellow tape, so that other folks don’t come too close.
If your tree is in danger of uprooting, it will most likely fall in the direction that it’s already leaning. That’s pretty intuitive. However, if there are very strong winds in another direction, the saturated root system might me malleable enough to tip the other direction. With that in mind, it’s best to avoid a leaning tree on all sides until a tree service can arrive.
What To Do If My Tree Is In Danger of Uprooting?
The snow is melting, the wind has been strong, and your tree is starting to uproot. Chances are, your tree will need to be removed right away. Removal is the best way to ensure that your tree doesn’t cause damage to your home or property.
In some cases, it is possible to stake the tree in order to save it. However, you’ll want to consult with your tree service to see if this is feasible. And, more often than not, removal is the only option.
How Can I Prevent My Tree From Uprooting?
To avoid the risk of uprooting, we recommend that you remove the snow on and around your tree (at least, as much as possible). Use a broom to brush snow away from the base of the tree and off the branches.
You should also look for any signs of disease among your trees. Unhealthy trees, especially those with root rot, are already susceptible to uprooting in high-wind conditions; factor in the saturation from melting snow and they just might be done for.
Keep your eyes peeled for poor growth, faded needle color, and dark brown discolored bark at the base of the tree. At the base, you may also see some loosening and separation of the bark. All these are signs that your tree is experiencing root rot, and is therefore in greater danger of uprooting as winter turns to spring.
You should also be aware of any white pines or spruce trees on your property. These trees are particularly susceptible to uprooting, and they don’t necessarily show signs beforehand. Of course, the root damage from oversaturation becomes clear after they uproot. But by paying them special attention (removing snow from their base, calling a certified arborist if necessary) you can avoid that unpleasant experience altogether.
As any arborist will tell you, trees face challenges in every season. In early spring, that challenge is undoubtedly the danger of uprooting from saturated roots. If you’re concerned about a tree on your property, don’t hesitate to give us a call, and we’ll do everything we can to make sure those roots stay where they belong – in the ground!