'Don't wait until hurricane season': Check your trees for damage before the storms hit

Addressing tree problems while the weather is nice, can help avoid costly, or even deadly consequences.

NASHVILLE -- A peaceful, sunny day may be the perfect time to get to know your trees.

"If you have a lot of mature trees, don’t wait until hurricane season," says Atlanta arborist Christie Bryant. "Have your trees checked out every 3 to 5 years on a normal schedule."

She says trees can often show early signs of trouble, such as visible rot or cracks.

"Sometimes it is nice to see the tree without the leaves on so we can get a good look at the bones, and make sure there are no cracks and stuff like that," she said. "But most anything we need to see we can look at in any season and get a pretty good indication of what to expect."

And addressing these problems while the weather is nice, can help avoid costly, or even deadly consequences. While it's not possible to predict how every tree will handle severe weather, there are some practical steps that you can take to minimize the danger. 

Step one: Consult a professional.

"It is really important to use a company affiliated with an arborist for the most part, so you can get the most up to the minute tree pruning with the latest knowledge," Bryant said.

She says trees that are cut in an unbalanced way can often pose a greater risk during the storms. A lot of insight can be gained by just taking a walk. Bring along your camera, and document the trees surrounding your home. If you see something that concerns you, make a call to an expert.

"Go out and take a picture of your house from a bunch of different angles, because when your neighbor’s tree goes down, you get scared and that tree wasn’t leaning yesterday, you are convinced it is," Bryant said. "A simple picture taken the day before can tell you if you have a new leaning tree, or if something has changed, a branch is now closer to your house than it was yesterday, you can know all of that if you know what your trees look like normally, and you can document that with a camera."