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During the recent storm event of ex-cyclone Debbie, many people found themselves with unexpected property damage as a result of fallen trees and branches. Trees that seemed healthy and secure, had become uprooted or had lost large branches. The clean up after ex-cyclone Debbie was huge. The event of cyclone Debbie raises important questions about tree safety and how we can better manage tree related damage from severe storms.

During ex-cyclone Debbie, the Sunshine Coast was lashed by high force wind and rain. And as a result, many properties on the coast where affected by the damage caused by fallen branches and uprooted trees. Since it had been several years since a storm of this force had hit the Sunshine Coast, there was a great deal of overhanging branches and deadwood that was left to be potential projectiles in the severely windy conditions. After the event of ex-cyclone Debbie, there were trees down over major roads, cutting off parts of the coast for several hours during peak hour. There were cases of trees taking down power lines in areas that were hard to access, causing parts of Buderim and Rosemout to be without power for close to three days. We at Tricky Tree Solutions were inundated with calls for help. There were properties where trees had blocked driveways or crashed into houses. Weeks on, and the clean-up is still underway.

After an event like this, we often get asked about the species of trees that are more likely to cause damage in a storm. While it is impossible to pinpoint exactly which trees will be most affected in severe storms, there are a few things you can do to minimise the potential damage caused by strong winds. Firstly, you can identify which trees are most hazardous. While tall gum trees are often the ones that drop branches, any tree can be a hazard in a severe storm. We often get asked if it is worth removing feature trees like old gums for the potential of property damage they pose. While we can't give advice about the likelihood of a healthy gum tree falling in a storm, we can advise that the aesthetic and environmental value of a feature tree far outweighs the slight risk they may pose in a storm. The key to living with large feature trees in safer way, is to always have dead limbs removed, to identify overhanging branches so they can be removed, and not to plant gum trees too close to dwellings. It is also important to NEVER TOP GUM TREES. They only grow back weaker and are a ticking time bomb in a storm. The best approach to minimising damage in a storm is to have your trees selectively pruned regularly. Have deadwood or overhanging branches removed. And move your cars and other mobile breakable things away from trees, and then find a safe place to shelter with family during the storm.


In the wake of ex-cyclone Debbie, I think we can all be grateful that, while there great property damage and inconvenience caused by fallen trees, there was no loss of life as a result of fallen trees. Essentially, it is impossible to predicts which trees or branches will fail in a storm. Yet the best solution is still to be storm ready, To be attentive to the potential threats in your trees, whether that be dead branches, overhanging branches or rot. And part of being storm ready is also moving things like cars away from large trees and finding a secure shelter for yourself and family in the storm.

 
 
The best ways to prevent gum tree limbs being dropped on your house or yard is to monitor the gum trees, and have them selectively pruned when you see the signs. Dangers to look for include; dead or rotting limbs, places where the tree has been topped or lopped in the past (this creates weaknesses in the limbs), or storm damage to your trees caused by wind or other trees. We can recycle your tree branches by turning them into mulch for your garden too.
 
 
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The hollow log hanging boxes
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Installing the nesting boxes
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Nesting boxes with a view
It's very rewarding when clients ask us to make and install nesting boxes. Tom made these boxes from hollow logs and hung them in some tall gum trees. If you live on the Sunshine Coast, and are interested in creating habitat trees in your garden for native wildlife, contact us. We are more than happy to help make the coast more wildlife friendly and sustainable. We are not just about tree care or tree lopping, but we are also passionate about looking after the habitat of native wildlife.
 
 
 
 
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This is the best time of year to prepare for the upcoming storm season. Don't wait until trees become dangerous. Be proactive and have them pruned selectively. Have rotting branches, deadwood or overhanging branches removed before the Sunshine Coast storms roll in.

 
 
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This beautiful flowing Banksia is an iconic Native Tree on the Sunshine Coast. You know your on the Sunshine Coast when you see this beautiful native plant growing among coastal heath. It flowers in winter and has foliage all year round. We love admiring our unique native trees on the Sunshine Coast. Tree appreciation is one of the best parts of being an arborist on the Sunshine Coast.

 
 
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An awesome thing about being an arborist is that you see the landscape in a new way. from the same angle as a bird or possum. I love working in Sunshine Coast trees because it is always a beautiful view.

 
 
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It's a nice time of year to spot the flowering Autumn trees and shrubs like the Harpin Banksia (banksia Spinulosa var. collina). The Sunshine Coast has an awesome display of flowing natives.

 
 
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Using a cherry picker to reach a difficult gum tree branch in Mount Coolum
 
 
Are you ready for the storm season? have you prepared your trees? What are some things you can do? How can you prevent property damage? Should you attempt to prune dangerous trees?

There are many problems that lead to trees becoming dangerous in a storm. Branches can have double leaders, making them susceptible to weakness. There can be subtle signs of rot in a tree's trunk, leading to structural weakness. An overgrown branch may look healthy, but be too close to a power-line or structure, posing another risk. And then there can be issues that have resulted from bad tree lopping practices in the past.  Tree weaknesses often come as a result of unskillful lopping or topping.

For these reasons, and many more, you should not perform your own tree work on potentially dangerous trees. You should enlist the services of a qualified arborist. Have the overhanging branches trimmed and pruned. Have large or compromised trees removed...preferably before the storm season begins. This will help you to minimise dangers ahead of time.