Arborist: Heavy rains causing trees to decay faster than normal

AUSTIN (KXAN) — All the rain Austin has seen in the last few weeks is causing trees to decay faster than normal, which can lead to branches or even whole trees toppling over.

“We’re having a lot of people calling who are having unpleasant surprises,” said arborist Scott George with Austin Beautiful Trees. “People finding broken branches on cars, on their houses and in the yard.”

On Thursday morning, a large tree fell across Enfield Road. No one was hurt, but the situation could have been much worse.

“Large branches have the potential for failure in storm situations,” said George. But there are signs you can look for and fix before the next storm hits. “When we assess trees we look for obvious defects. We look for decay pockets, old wounds that may have occurred in old trees.”

With more rain in the forecast, George said trees should be looked at before it is too late. Checking with a certified arborist first is recommended.

However, in most cases, homeowners must check with the city before you cutting down a tree. City rules do not allow residents to chop trees 19 inches across or more without a permit. Applications are typically approved if a tree is dead, deceased or prevents access to land. However, But if a tree is so severely damaged it puts people or property in danger, the city says it can be cut down.

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