Arborists have issued a warning to Queenslanders as we head into storm season: beware a heightened risk of falling limbs and trees, brought on by a dry winter and a sodden spring.
The warning comes as Brisbane weathered the first storm of the summer at the weekend, with more predicted as the season wears on.
“Large, mature trees that are close to high-value targets such as houses, cars and wherever people congregate are particularly susceptible to creating chaos if they come down during a big storm, especially at this time of year,” senior arborist Peter Mumford said.
His colleague, Aaron Nunn, said it was time for residents and councils to be alert. “You get a lot of tree failures when you get that influx of moisture,” he said.
Mr Mumford and Mr Nunn work for Arbor Operations, and said the company had concerns this year’s winter weather could lead to more trees than usual falling on houses and cars, causing significant damage.
“We went from a period of dry weather during winter to our soils becoming sodden with rain during spring, which means a tree’s root system has got less to hold onto if it gets pushed around during high winds,” said Mr Mumford.
Mr Nunn explained that during dry seasons, trees grew more roots close to the surface of the soil where moisture is more abundant.
“It happens over a number of years ??? As soil becomes more sodden, it isn’t bound together as tightly. It’s liquefied, like jelly,” Mr Nunn said. Related: Five dream homes for sale in BrisbaneRelated: Five things you didn’t know about Manly, BrisbaneRelated: Cute country cottages for sale in Australia
Low-lying areas, like those near the banks of the river, are most at risk. As are south-east Queensland’s “storm corridors”.
“The storm corridors from Boonah-Beaudesert to Logan and Brisbane Valley to Moreton Bay and Caboolture are particularly susceptible to damage at this time of year, and are in fact already getting hit,” Mr Mumford said.
NRMA Insurance’s head of shared value, Ramana James, said one in three Queenslanders weren’t prepared for storm season, which made the warning from Mr Mumford and Mr Nunn more troubling.
“It’s concerning that Queensland residents underestimate the impact of storms,” she said. “Take the time now to prepare your home, business, and community for severe storms.”
Mr Mumford said the first step was to get trees checked out to find out if they’re in danger of falling or their branches breaking off.
“Checking the structure of the tree crown, the canopy and the root system can save thousands in property damage,” he said.
Mr Nunn said residents concerned about a tree on public property should ring their local council.
“Not all councils are as proactive as they’d like to be, they’re often inundated,” he said. “If a resident puts in a request, it’s recorded in email so it’s in writing and recorded. So you’ll usually get an outcome with that approach.”
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