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photo credit: TS Eriksson/Wikimedia
With so many trees coming down from high winds and rain, many people in Sonoma County might be thinking twice about that birch, oak, or redwood in the yard. 
Fred Frey is a licensed, certified arborist and owner of Vintage Tree Care in Santa Rosa.
He said even in the midst of stormy weather, it’s not too late to take precautions around vulnerable trees.
"The best thing to do right now is watch your trees," Frey said. "Do you notice anything anomalous? Are, are you looking out and seeing a lean that you don't recall seeing?"
"Do you see a branch that's in a position that you don't recall seeing? Let your intuition speak. Oftentimes, the property owner or the people who repeatedly view the property are the best judges of when things are starting to change."
Frey said observation can provide other clues.
"That change can indicate lean, that's starting to get induced on the tree from soil saturation, maybe a limb that's cracking and not yet failed, but is starting to fail," Frey said. "Now, when you get into high wind events and a lot of moisture, all bets are off in the sense that things can happen that you wouldn't normally expect because you're getting a lot of high impact loads to the plant."
"Sometimes the unfortunate truth is you can only be reactive to a failure, but looking for those indicators can help get you ahead of that."
He said looking down to the ground can be just as important as looking up at the tree.
"Look for soil fissures," Frey said. "Do you see a root plate starting to lift? Does the soil look mounded on one side of the tree where it didn't before? Do you see cracks starting to develop in the soil?"
"Those can be pre-indicators of the tree starting to fail. When in doubt or just simply nervous, which is totally normal, given these conditions, contact a qualified arborist. Look for a certified arborist. Have somebody come out and actually evaluate the tree."
Frey said it’s never too busy to ask a certified arborist for assistance.
"A lot of them are out there busy doing that right now, ourselves included," Frey said. "So if you're truly concerned, try to get hold of someone competent to give you a good read on the tree or the trees."
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