Tree Trimming

Trimming trees and recommended tree maintenance

In Home maintenance tips by Wayne Brewer

Do you have tree branches hanging over or touching your roof? Then you need to think about trimming trees and branches.

Tree branches that are touching a roofIt has been our past experience, over many years, that the lack of trimming trees and proper tree maintenance leads to tree branches overhanging and/or in close proximity to roof lines can be not only a hazard to the roof itself resulting in rubbing of the tree branches against the roof line, wearing shingles and damaging finishes, but also and possibly more importantly, can result in significant damage to roof components, such as lead flashings by rodents accessing the roof by way of the tree branches. We have discovered that squirrels, specifically, seem to favor “chewing” on the lead and, in some cases chewing the lead down past the roof line and completely exposing the attic space to the elements, allowing for the intrusion of water, snow and/or ice. This impacts most older homes and/or some newer homes that use lead as pipe flashings. In addition to squirrels, raccoons, possums and other like animals also use tree branches to gain access to homes. These significantly larger animals can result in additional and/or more significant damage, and they also have a habit of burying their young in enclosed areas, such as attics and crawl spaces. This can lead to a significant issue as these animals are also very territorial, resulting in significant costs for removal and/or potential harm to families. Extreme precautions, as with all wildlife and with those that are prone to carrying natural diseases, such as rabies, should be exercised by those equipped and experienced for these circumstances.

It has been our past experience that there are numerous attempts to try to prevent squirrels or other like animals from chewing on the lead, such as caulking with a silicone sealant around the perimeter and edges, or coating the lead with a tar or tar-like material. However, few of these seem to have an impact on this condition. Subsequently, we recommend that you maintain good habits regarding tree maintenance and ensuring that the tree branches are trimmed away from the residence. It is common for tree branches to grow as much 3-5 feet over the growing cycle and can significantly impost this type of pressure against the building. The tree branches can impact not only the residences and roofs, but also can play a significant role on impact and/or damage to overhead, high voltage and lesser utility lines, such as cable, telephone, etc. Trimming of the branches away from these lines will also be needed.

As always, we recommend that tree-trimming be executed by an expert to prevent personal injury, preventing a fall and/or possibly crippling injuries, or even worse. Contacting a qualified arborist or tree-trimming contractor for further input and implementing repairs and always ensuring that the company and/or contractor performing the work is insured against any damage to your property or pursuing the homeowner in the event of an injury.

For more information on Pruning and Care of Shade Trees visit the University of Missouri Extension or US Forest Service