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Arborist: Check your trees for these 3 things before the storm

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – As meteorologists forecast additional wet weather for Central Virginia, arborists are warning saturated soil could mean some trees will topple.

“It was very scary,” said Stacy Sulewski, who will never forget what her home looked like in the aftermath of a Hurricane Irene.

“We did lose a couple of trees and our neighbor’s tree landed in their house,” Sulewski said. “We have had the tree people out. We've had several… taken down that we thought were too close."

Her home in Chesterfield is surrounded by trees, so she is admittedly worried about what heavy rains and then what Joaquin could potentially bring.

Arborist Clay Johns

Arborist Clay Johns

Arborist Clay Johns knows all too well the worry that has set in for homeowners.

Johns said the wet weather and the potential of high winds from Hurricane Joaquin could be "the straw that broke the camel's back" for some homeowner's.

"Essentially the problem is the ground is so wet over the last several days the conditions are right for winds to start bringing stuff over," he explained.


Fungus on a tree

John said  homeowners can prepare by checking their trees by looking for heaving soil and a raised a lump that could indicate the tree is in jeopardy.

Mushrooms are also a dead giveaway. If you see those Johns said your tree is decaying and that is a major red flag.


A big tree. Will it uproot?

He even pointed out trees that may be easy to come out of the ground and break.

"Pine comes out of the ground very easy. They have a very shallow root system. So if you've got pines, you're more apt to see trees coming out of the ground.

Trees that tend to break easy tend to be the softer woods like poplar, sweet gum and maples, Johns explained.

Another concern homeowners have, if trees do come down, is the potential for them to take out power lines.

Dominion Virginia power crews will be ready in that case.

That's another headache Sulewski and other homeowners don't want to have to contend with.

If you do experience downed trees on power lines, officials said you should contact Dominion Virginia Power right away. You can call 866-DOM-HELP to report that.

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