Truck & Chipper W Tree in background

Carpenter Costin Blog

The Effect of Storms on Your Trees

Trees are such an integral part of our world. We name streets after them, lounge under their shade, swing from them in our youth, and eat fruit from them. Even part of the quintessential American dream is to live on a quaint tree lined street. 


storm damage on your trees

Trees however need to be protected from nature’s elements like strong winds and storms that can batter our Massachusetts coastline. 

From hurricanes in the summer and fall to nor’easters in the winter months, New England is known for the storms that can wreak havoc on our area. Trees can be especially vulnerable to the storms experienced rather regularly. 

Let’s take a look at how storms can impact trees and some precautions homeowners can take to protect these essential parts of our ecosystem. 

Tree Uprooting 

One of the more common sights after a strong storm has blown through our state, is to see trees that have toppled, ripping the roots right up from the ground. 

Most trees can handle a normal amount of flexing in the wind. Sadly, trees that have root damage due to pests, nearby construction, a shallow root structure, or an unestablished root system such as those found in newly planted trees. 

These root issues usually go unanswered and don’t cause a major problem until a strong wind from a storm puts too much stress on the roots. 

Think of a tree like a sailboat. The top leaves and full canopy of a tree act in a similar way to a sail on a sailboat. They catch the wind and cause the object (either a boat or a tree) to move and sway with the wind. Unfortunately, trees can not move themselves to where the wind directs them to go, like a sailboat can. Instead, if the wind is too strong and the root system too weak, the tree could topple and land on your home, car, or across a street. 

Having an arborist inspect your mature trees regularly can help determine the health of your root system and the tree itself. 

arborists can help evaluate trees

Limb Breakage 

Another common type of injury that can occur during New England storms is limb breakage. This can happen high in the canopy and lower, near the trunk. 

Decaying wood from fungal infections, pest infestations, or damage caused by a human improperly pruning, can create a scenario where branches can break under the stress of a storm. 

Concern about where a large, heavy limb may land is a primary concern especially if the tree is near any structures like a garage, shed, or your home. What should also worry homeowners is the weakening and vulnerability of the tree to further pest invasions and fungal growth due to the limb breakage. 

Structural Damage 

Depending upon the strength of the storm that blows through our region, homeowners may aso worry about structural damage that may impact a tree. Having an arborist inspect your trees before and after a big storm might be a good idea, especially if any of your trees are already showing signs of structural vulnerability such as leaning to one side or improper and excessive pruning making a tree look like it may have more weight on one side than the other. 


Hurricane Arthur Batters North Shore - How To Deal with the Aftermath

How to protect your trees in severe weather!


We've received dozens of calls this weekend from people with storm damaged trees. Our crews have been taking trees off houses, driveways, wires and yards, and removing broken branches from trees. We've also had a number of calls about uprooted trees in Swampscott, Marblehead, Lynn, Lynnfield, Andover, North Andover, Revere, Winthrop, Boxford and Reading.

Recent year’s severe weather events such as the ice storm of ’08, Halloween storm of ’10, Hurricane Sandy ’12 and other unnamed storms have damaged trees across the North Shore of Boston. Trees catch the wind like sails and branches hold snow and ice; overextended limbs are most likely to break in wind, snow, and ice events. Storms can cause other types of failure as well: root plate failure, soil failure, sliding I-Beam failure, insect and disease failure, and lightening strikes!

And unfortunately, insurance may not cover trees that are not threatening life or property!

What you shouldn’t do!

DO NOT go near a tree that has become unsafe with broken limbs or uprooting

DO NOT cut an uprooted tree, the roots may be under tension still and when weight is removed from the crown (leafy portion or the tree) the tree can stand back up!

DO NOT attempt to free up broken limbs, what may look small from the ground can be very large…and heavy!

What can you do?

Like anything else, preventative maintenance is easiest…and cheaper!

Healthy trees are generally safe, so stay on top of:

  • IPM and fertilization
  • Crown reduction and thinning reduces sail volume and over extended limbs
  • Cabling helps support larger limbs

Contact one of our certified arborists to learn how to keep your trees healthy or to help with storm damage clean-up!

Request a Free Consultation


Fallen Trees, Storm Damage, and Insurance Coverage

As a follow up to our article, Is it Legal to Trim a Neighbor's Tree?, we’d like to provide some information on insurance expectations, should you encounter the unfortunate event of structural damage caused by fallen trees. For the record, no one at Carpenter Costin claims to be an insurance expert - we’re just hoping to provide some useful information.

Various storms hit New England every season, and with every storm comes the possibility of fallen trees and structural damage. Knowing what to expect before a catastrophe happens willfallen tree and insurance help you through the process of getting the fallen tree off the structure, and working to get the damage repaired as quickly as possible.

In a previous article we discussed who is legally responsible for tree care when a tree lies on or near a property line. This article; however, focuses on the insurance companies and the role they play when you encounter fallen trees and storm damage.

Your Tree, Your House

Let’s start with a tree on your property. Should the tree fall and land on your house, your homeowners insurance should cover the expense to take the tree off the house, and then any necessary repairs to the structure. What homeowners insurance does not always cover is the cost to clean up fallen tree debris that didn’t land on the house, or the disposal of the tree that did land on the house. It is common that the insurance will cover the cost to get the fallen tree or branches off the structure, but the actual removal of the tree from the property is not covered.

Your Tree, Your Neighbor's House

If this same tree on your property were to fall the opposite way and land on a neighbor’s structure, the neighbor’s homeowners insurance will likely cover the cost for their client, but then go after your insurance company and seek reimbursement. This should be a process handled by the insurance companies, limiting the headaches that it causes you, as the homeowner. If the tree were to fall due to negligence, not a storm, it is likely that your insurance would be getting the bill to start, as you must reasonably inspect and maintain the trees on your property.

Structure/Property Other Than a House

Homeowners insurance may also cover other structures on the property, such as sheds or garages, but the value of theses structures may be much less, and you should expect different services than you get with your living quarters. Also, you can expect that any damage to an automobile caused by fallen trees and branches will be handled through your automobile insurance, not homeowners insurance, even if the car was parked at home.

Hopefully this information will act as a guide should you experience storm damage from fallen trees. We recommend a free consultation with an Arborist in both the spring and the fall to ensure your property and all of its trees are as safe and structurally sound as can be.


fallen tree damage

If you are faced with an unfortunate storm damage experience, having a basic understanding of insurance expectations will help you through the process.

**disclaimer – no one at Carpenter Costin is an insurance expert/agent, or claims to be an insurance expert/agent. Insurance policies vary greatly from home to home. This is meant solely to serve as a guide for homeowners encountering troubles with fallen trees.

Avoiding Winter Storm Damage

Prepare Your Trees for Winter Storms

Despite the relatively warm temperatures we've experienced thus far, winter can still be a nasty threat to your landscape. With gusting winds upwards of 50 mph in the summer or fall, winter storms can be just as dangerous as their warm weather counterparts. Your trees need to be inspected before the winter to ensure the safety of your house, yard and family. 

Our local evergreen trees are great storm survivors - they have been enduring storms in the North East for centuries. Unfortunately, even evergreen trees can fall victim to winter storms. Though the needle-like foliage of our evergreens is very wind resistant, they are susceptible to damage due to storms and a variety of other factors.

It is a good idea to have a Certified Arborist out to inspect your trees each year in an attempt to prevent any storm damage. A qualified professional can spot weaknesses in tree structure and prune to prevent future damage. Tree pruning can be the difference between suffering storm damage, and having healthy, attractive trees year round. Pruning out potential damage will prevent any limbs from falling during winter storms, and also improves air flow within the tree, reducing the threat of pest infestation and uprooting.

If you've had limbs fall from your evergreens or deciduous trees before or even dead limbs in your tree, it is recommended that you have an Arborist come out to inspect it. Limbs falling during winter storms, even if they are small, can indicate internal damage. If you wait too long, the next Nor'Easter could cause some serious storm damage to your property or home.

Request a free consultation with one of our Certified Arborists. It is completely cost and obligation free, and could be the difference between winter storm damage, and healthy looking trees next spring. In addition, we offer 10% off of winter tree services.


Tree Damage 4Tree Damage 3

The Storm Damage Dilemma

Judging by the amount of trees and limbs that are still scattered across the lawns in our region, many home owners are having a difficult time deciding whether to have an Arborist out to clean up storm damage; or finding it difficult to find the time to clean it up themselves.

Unplanned tree service can put a real damper on your mood. Scheduled yearly pruning is warranted, and removal of that old unsafe tree is anticipated; but when a storm rolls into town and causes tree damage, home owners should be very discouraged. I recently spoke with a friend from the Hartford, CT area who had to change his weekend snowmobiling plans in order to clean up the fallen trees. Let me tell you, he was not too pleased.

Cleaning up after a storm does not have to be a laborious experience, draining all of your precious weekend time. Our efficient tree crews can clean up fallen branches and trees quickly, and remove the remains of the damage, or cut the wood into firewood length to be split and burned in your stove or fireplace. Cleaning up storm damage yourself is often difficult due to towns' storm debris removal policies and the danger involved in doing so. Although we acknowledge the home owner who is skilled with a chainsaw, we do feel it is best left to professionals for safety reasons.

So if you're still pondering what to do with your storm damage we highly suggest giving us a call or chiming in on an online consultation form. Why waste what looks to be a pleasant weekend by spending your time hauling broken branches around, tying up brush, or trying to find out which neighbor borrowed your chainsaw last.

storm damage tree

This leader fell down the night of the Nor'Easter. Not nearly the worst damage I've seen, but this one was in my backyard!

Storm Damage & Fallen Tree Clean Ups

The weekend Nor'Easter damaged many trees and knocked out power and phone lines across the region.

The heavy snow, driving rain, and gusty winds did a number on the trees in our region. A quick drive around the neighborhood shows more damage than we experienced during Hurricane
Irene, at least in my neck of the woods. Hopefully, you've escaped the Nor' Easter with no damage to your property.

Our crews are working tirelessly cleaning up damage from the storm. If you've experienced any storm damage, fallen trees, or broken branches, please do not hesitate to call us at 877-308-8733 or click the button below to request a free consultation.


fallen tree damage

Nor'Easter on the Way; Prep for Wind, Rain, Snow

October Nor'Easters can wreak havoc on trees in our region!

There is a bit of uncertainty as to what this storm will bring. Will it be 8 inches of wet snow, along with powerful wind? Or will it be driving rain and high wind gusts? Either way, it is enough to get the Carpenter Costin office churning, prepping staff and equipment for the possibility of measurable snow.storm damaged tree

Regardless of whether we get 8 inches of snow, or substantial down pours of rain, this storm is sure to pack a nasty punch, creating the possibility for storm damaged trees throughout Massachusetts. Unlike Nor'Easters that come in the dead of winter and encounter defoliated trees, Fall Nor'Easters can impact trees that still have their foliage. Trees that still have foliage are very susceptible to damage during these storms. The foliage in these trees catches the wind and creates more resistance to the wind. This resistance is often enough to damage trees that have been stresed throughout the year.

Please be careful through the storm. If you have a tree that you suspect is weak, then please stay away from it if possible. An October Nor'Easter can truly wreak havoc on your trees, so proceed with the utmost caution. If you do experience storm damage give us a call, or click the button below and we can have a crew out to clean it up, and ensure your trees are safe moving forward.



Storm Damage In Eastern Massachusetts

Though her punch was not as mighty as it could have been, Hurricane Irene brought some high winds, heavy rain, and big surf to our region. Many trees and limbs are scattered across our yards, storm-damaged-treestreets, and parks.

Cleaning up after a storm like Irene is never a fun experience. The powerful storm dropped limbs and trees, and scattered leaves throughout our yards, making it look like the late fall. Hopefully, your homes, garages, sheds, and cars remained safe throughout the storm and were not hit with falling trees and branches.

We would just like to remind our followers, that we are here to help with storm damage clean up. Our crews have been working tirelessly, helping to clean up fallen branches and trees, and restoring landscapes back to their pre-storm form. Our efficient equipment and experienced crews can clean up your yard in not time.

If you'd like to have Carpenter Costin come out to clean up any storm damage you may have, request a consultation with an Arborist, or call 877-308-8733. Our Certified Arborist can come out and inspect any damage and have a crew out for a timely clean up.



Preparing Your Landscape for Hurricane Irene

Gale force winds and driving rain are heading our way. Be sure that your landscape and trees will survive.

Hurricane Irene's path is becoming more predictable, and it appears as though she will be hitting southern New England and taking a route through the middle of the Bay State. Even if her status is downgraded to a tropical storm prior to her arrival, we will still be experiencing winds upwards of 70 mph, and some seriously heavy down pours and lightning storms. All of which can be devastating to our trees and landscapes.

It is a good idea to start by securing all outdoor furniture. Tropical storm winds are more than enough to pick up a lawn or patio chair and move it several hundred feet. We also recommend moving any potted plants you may have around your patios or yards to a safe place, potentially inside a garage or three season room.

wind blown treeUnfortunately, if you are just thinking about removing hazardous trees now it is likely too late. If you are worried about an unsafe tree, we recommend having an Arborist come out to inspect the tree immediately. Even if the work can't be done until after this weekend, it is very possible that another storm may come up our coast this summer and fall. A strong storm can put extreme stress on an already damaged tree. Don't think because it made through one hurricane, that it will make it through the next.

We hope everyone stays safe through the storm. If you would like to have a Certified Arborist come out to inspect any of your trees please call 877-308-8733 or click the button below. 





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