If a tree falls in California, is it because of too much rain or not enough?
Trees around the state have been uprooting and falling over after a series of storms that has made this one of the wettest winters on record.
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On the coast, falling trees crushed cars in a high school parking lot and forced the evacuation of campers in Morro Bay State Park. No one was injured, but students at Morro Bay High School sheltered in classrooms to wait to be released.
Lee Ayres, CEO of Tree Fresno, said the cumulative effect of several droughts has led to weaker trees. A deluge of rain in a short period of time doesn’t help — it only saturates the soil. It’s kind of like losing a night of sleep, Ayres said. You can’t really catch up.
On hillsides, heavy rainfall after years of drought causes mudslides, which pulls trees down as well.
Proper care can keep trees strong and standing tall. Regular pruning keeps trees from getting too top-heavy, which makes them susceptible to high winds, like the ones that battered the coast on Friday. Ayres recommends calling an arborist if a tree is showing signs of disease, or if it has started to lean and its roots are pulling upwards.
The best preventative measure is planting the right kind of trees in the right locations, according to Ayres. Tree varieties that are popular in the Valley like California redwoods and eucalyptus trees don’t do well in stormy weather. They’ve been pulled from Tree Fresno’s tree selection guide, which is available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.