Windthrow & Trees

By Albert Key

While there is much empirical information on wind throw, ultimately, we do not know the exact stresses which wind puts on mature trees, as the only way to academically test wind throw is with young trees. A study that I worked on with Dr. Tom Smiley of the Bartlett Tree Laboratory generated some interesting findings:

  1. Young trees are very wind stable.
  2. Trees with deeper roots had a larger resistance to wind throw, AND
  3. Saturated conditions led to increased stability
  4. That increase in saturated conditions was more for trees with deeper roots

Conclusion: deeper roots in young trees lead to higher resistance to wind throw regardless of rainfall. The data for mature trees with deeper roots are unavailable, but look encouraging.

Image: General Wesc

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