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Home Safety for the Fall

The fall season brings with it cool breezes, strong colors, and the harvest. While for many, the fall brings joy and the celebration of seasonal change; it can also bring potential damage to the home. The change of seasons increases the chances of tree damage to a home as the air becomes thinner and plant life begins to decay. As winds become more forceful and thunderstorms come to break apart the remaining summer heat, tree branches and trunks can fall on homes, cars, garages, and storage shed’s causing serious damage. Falling trees and limbs cause millions of dollars in damage every year in Connecticut. To avoid problems with falling trees, here are some suggestions for CT homeowners to prevent decaying and dying trees from damaging their property.

Trimming Loose Limbs

A homeowner should trim the bark and some of the interior wood in such a way that he encourages the loose limbs to heal. Use a sharp grafting knife to clean up the wounds. Where the outer bark is separating from the interior wood, make a clean cut back to where the bark is attached the most firm. Also, clean up any ragged or worn edges, this is a slow process, but with any luck, the bark should begin to grow over the decaying wood.

Providing Support

Within the damaged trunk, cut away any areas where the wood has been crushed so that the decaying wounds can heal more quickly. The homeowner should pack the wounds of the tree with a sort of poultice, preferably one made of moist sphagnum peat moss. The peat moss is sterile, and it will help keep the tree tissue moist to foster healing. Next, wrap the peat moss with a single layer of bubble wrap, or similar substance, and secure the wrap with tape to keep the new layer firm. Periodically check the moisture level of the moss, misting it when necessary to keep the trunk moist. Finally, inspect the wounds for any signs of rot, which is unlikely but better safe than sorry, and for positive healing.

In Case of a Storm

Home safety is necessary to secure your family. While most standard homeowners insurance policies cover damage resulting from falling trees on the home or insured structures, there are precautions to take as a homeowner to avoid these situations. A homeowner should immediately remove any dead of dying limbs before strong winds or a fall storm is projected to come in. Focus on the limbs that hang above your home, garage, and car because they provide the most danger to your property. Inspect the trees in your yard for cracks or hollows and trees with mushrooms growing on the bark, because these are all signs of poor health.

When a Branch Falls, Are You Covered?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, typical homeowners insurance covers tree-related damage. Let’s say a falling branch in a storm not only falls on your roof, but also does interior damage to the room below that was saturated with rainwater. As long as the homeowner is insured, then standard home insurance policies cover the damage done- both to the roof as well as any damage done to the interior of the home. The cost of removing the tree would be covered by your insurance claim as well as any damage down to a garage, gazebo, or shed that are detached from the home. Helpful tip: if a branch falls on a homeowners roof but no damage is down, your homeowners insurance would not cover the damaged tree or cover its removal.

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