TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Severe East Texas storms can leave behind a path of destruction - trees snapped in half, scattered across power lines, cars and homes. But, protecting your property from a storm could be as simple as a proper pruning.
"It was an absolutely beautiful tree--great leaves, great shade for the yard."
Jimmy Roberts lives in Tyler and described the beautiful oak tree that once stood in his front yard.
Last July, 70 mile-per-hour winds leveled that tree and destroyed his family's home of 18 years.
Roberts recently gave us a tour of his new home. He hopes to move in in the coming days. The home was a bitter-sweet gift from mother nature.
"The devastation the storms can do...you can't plan for that," said Roberts.
But Jim Bohlmann, a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, said you can do something: prune.
An arborist for almost 50 years, Bohlmann said he's nuts about trees.
Each species of tree is different, but scaffold branches, or right-angled branches, help strengthen trees. Bohlmann said it's important to properly remove any dead wood from the trunk.
"Butchering" a tree can result in dead wood, leaving the tree vulnerable to disease and decay.
"The branches become hollow and the entire tree weakens," he said.
It's best to start training your tree when it's young to help it develop a strong central trunk.
"You have to envision what this particular species looks like in the future," said Bohlmann. "Train them in the first 10 or 12 years, and they'll be okay the rest of their life."
Bohlmann said over-watering can also lead to the rotting of the roots. The best time to prune is when trees are more dormant, such as in the winter, or in the heat of the late summer. It is always best to call in a certified professional when dealing with taller, mature trees and power lines.
Roberts had the remaining trees in their front yard trimmed this past winter.
"I don't think we'll plant another tree that might get as big and do more damage. That's kind of scary," said Roberts.