TULSA - Time's running out to get trees checked before they start growing leaves and becoming much more susceptible to wind damage.
Todd Rickert, a certified arborist, says damage to trees can sometimes take years to become obvious, and the danger continues to increase the longer the damage goes untreated.
In some cases, the entire tree needs to come down; in others, a good pruning can sometimes save the tree.
Once the leaves burst from their buds, the wind resistance offered by a tree grows exponentially, as does the danger that it will topple or lose branches in high wind.
That process will begin in some species, specifically Bradford Pears, in the next few days.
Damage from the 2007 ice storm left two trees in this reporter's back yard in bad shape.
One, an ash, was redeemable, and Rickert's crew trimmed it back.
The other, a silver maple estimated at about 40 feet in height, could not.
"The damage started in 2007, but as you look at the top of the tree, the decay is gradually getting deeper and deeper into the tree," Rickert said.
"All the new growth after 2007 now is susceptible to breaking off," he added.
That poses a risk to property, pets, and people, as some of those branches weigh a great deal and could do serious damage if they fell.
Rickert's advice is not too try to gauge whether a tree is potentially dangerous, but to have a trained professional do it at least once every three years.