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Tree Care: Heavy Summer Rains Could Put Trees At Risk

By Stein Tree
Posted on November 2, 2018

Our area has had a very wet summer season. The precipitation is great for our lawns and our thirsty landscapes are thriving. And though trees need water too, too much water can cause damage or create conditions where they are at risk of uprooting. Having a tree care evaluation could be a proactive measure that saves your tree—or your property!

Effects of Heavy Rain on Trees

One heavy rainstorm is unlikely to cause problems for a tree, unless the tree was unhealthy to begin with. Some problems can definitely have their start with over-saturation of soil.


Too much water over a period of time can cause a tree to experience fungal growth. This is especially true if the tree has suffered an injury, which can make a tree vulnerable to disease even without any other extenuating factors.

One issue that many oak trees in Pennsylvania suffered this year due to the very wet weather is a big prevalence of a fungal blight called anthracnose. Fungus thrives in dampness, and as the fungus was already present, the spread was more pronounced. Trees afflicted with this fungus had curled and browned leaves, premature defoliation or leaf drop, and the presence of fungal structures. For residents who suspect that their oak trees were afflicted by anthracnose, have a tree care specialist confirm and give advice for future care. These trees can survive and thrive again, but certain precautions may make that outcome more likely.

Root Movement

When the soil is very wet, roots are able to move more freely. Sometimes this can cause them to be more susceptible to uprooting for a couple of reasons.

First, if the roots are relatively shallow anyway, the roots could move closer to the surface, giving less stability.

Second, roots can begin to grow up instead of out if the soil is wet. This change can lead to the roots growing up around the trees and “girdling” them. The tree can lose vitality and even die, or the tree can be weakened and fall during storms if the condition goes unverified and untreated.
In addition, soil that has had heavy saturation is more compacted, which can constrict proper movement and cause damage to the tree roots over time.

What Can You Do?

fungus growing on tree - tree care - Stein Tree

If your trees survived the summer rains, inspect them for signs that they might be at future risk. Some things you can see for yourself, like cracks in the tree trunk, mushrooms or other fungal growth on the tree, or significant leaning. A certified arborist can help you evaluate other risk factors to your trees. He/she may discover wood decay and if they do, further testing, such as a resistograph test, can help determine definitively if your tree has decay inside. He/she will also check for crown dieback and root collar health.

Have Stein Tree Perform Tree Care Inspections This Season

If your trees have experienced issues that have impacted their health and vitality, have them evaluated. Annual tree inspection is a smart proactive move anyway, but with these types of conditions, a greater likelihood exists for them to fall in winter weather, due to windstorms or to heavy snow or ice presence on weakened branches. Trees falling in the winter can damage homes, your property or your neighbors’ property, or people in the area. Plan ahead with safety in mind. Contact Stein Tree Service to inspect your trees before winter storms hit.




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