Pruning is the key to prevent trees from falling in high winds

If you have tree branches that are a little too close for comfort to power lines, you can report the problem on First Energy's website

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NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – The last few weeks have seen beautiful fall foliage across the Mahoning Valley but recent strong winds have the potential to not only knock down leaves, but bring entire trees down.

Tree damage can occur at any time of the year. Most damage to limbs or the full tree occurs because of wind due to thunderstorms or strong weather systems.

“Depending on where they are located, there could be damage to homes, power lines, that sort of thing. Roads will be closed,” said Davey Tree Sales Arborist Geoff Clark.

Heading into the middle of autumn, moist soil from rain can make it easier for trees to topple. Wet snow can also create problems, adding to extra weight on the tree.

“It’s amazing what that little bit of amount of wet snow can add to that tree. So if that tree is in any kind of weakened state, then it is an opportunity for failure,” Clark said.

Tree and power companies watch the weather forecast to help plan ahead for possible tree damage and subsequent power outages.

“Trees and tree-related outages are one of our largest causes of problems with our electricity,” said First Energy spokesperson Mark Durbin. “What we do throughout the year, we trim back the trees that are located near our equipment, our power lines, substations, that kind of thing.”

Trees falling on power lines are a big nuisance and can be very dangerous if live wires are on the ground.

Pruning trees throughout the year is the best preventative method in order to keep overgrown trees away from power lines and minimize the potential for power outages.

“With the proper pruning of the tree itself, to allow that wind to move through the tree a lot easier, you want to get rid of weakened branches, dead branches, dead limbs,” Clark said.

If you have tree branches that are a little too close for comfort to power lines, you can report the problem on First Energy’s website. A local tree service company will likely be sent out to make your property safer.