Check your trees before Hurricane Michael hits

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ATLANTA — The first storm-related Hurricane Florence deaths came after a tree fell on a home killing a mother and her child.

Lesha Patrice Johnson, 41, and her 8-month-old son were killed when a tree fell on their house in Wilmington, N.C.

Now that Hurricane Michael is approaching, arborists said it’s important for residents to examine your trees.

Christie Bryant is a certified arborist with Gunnison Professional Tree Care. She said some trees look beautiful from afar until you get a little closer.

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If Michael slowly pushes through and over-saturates the ground, Bryant said it’s not the dead trees you will need to be afraid of. It’s the live ones.

“In fact, trees that are dead have less chance of coming down in a storm than a tree with a structural issue that is perfectly healthy,” she said. “So, the more green you have up top the more weight you have, the more pressure is put on defects.”

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There are warning signs to watch out for help determine if your tree could be diseased.

  • Large mushrooms growing from the base
  • Decay forming around the trunk of the tree
  • A new “lean” to the tree

“We don’t worry about a tree that’s been leaning for about 15 years,” Bryant said. “We worry about a tree that just started leaning after the wind blew last night.”

Bryant said it usually takes about three to four weeks before a tree removal service can deal with a problem tree. However, if you feel your trees are a potential danger to your family, call an arborist anyway to find out what your options are.

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