How to tell if your tree is a safety hazard

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Knoxville (WVLT) - As storms blew across Tennessee this week, they also blew in business for those cleaning up the debris.

Knoxville tree removal companies say the storms slammed them with calls. Most of them for trees smashed into homes.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy's has the story.

The root of the problem's in the tree roots. East Tennessee's suffered a more than 20 month rain deficit. So many tree roots...Dried up.
Now, we have a nearly quarter inch rain surplus. So roots can't hold as tight, especially in this weeks high winds.

Trees, houses, lives, ripped apart by storms.

That's kept Wolf Tree Experts engine's rumbling.

"This is normally a slow time of year for most tree companies," said Tom Wolf of Wolf Tree Experts, Incorporated.

Not this year. This weeks storms turned even Knoxville trees upside down.

"Trees have fallen over on houses, or just trees down in the yard, trees that have fallen on fences," Wolf said.

It's not just an increase of one or two calls to turn trees to mulch...

"More like 8 or the calls a day at least that have seen storm damage," Wolf said.

A problem partially sprouting because more than 20 months of drought. Many tree roots have dried up. Now, add on the current quarter-inch rain surplus...

"The grounds wet, the winds high," Wolf said.

And tree roots can't hold as tight.

"So when it gets the force of the wind, the roots separate from the ground, or the ground comes up with it. The tree goes over," Wolf said.

Tom Wolf has trucks stationed in 10 states. That means nearly 700 employees, but Tennessee's been the busiest.

"A lot of the calls we've had this week have been from people that are scared of the trees that didn't get damaged," Wolf said.

There are signs to look out for so your trees don't end up like this. Watch for cracks in the trunk or major limbs. Look for hollow or decaying trees. Also, be careful of trees leaning towards your home.

"Our business isn't cyclical. We have the same amount of workers through the winter as we do the summer," Wolf said.

So even if the wind overworks your trees.

"The guys are holding up real well," Wolf said.

Tree service crews can get to the root of your problem.

Wolf tree does have crews in the Nashville area. Tom Wolf says his workers spent as many as 16 hours on the job dealing with the devastation there.

He says the best way to avoid tree problems in your yard, check for those problems. If you have any doubt, call a licensed arborist to check it out.

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