Heavy rain conditions could be putting Vancouver’s trees at risk
Posted October 26, 2022 10:56 pm.
Last Updated October 26, 2022 10:59 pm.
After an extended drought across the Lower Mainland, the recent weather change may be affecting Vancouver’s trees.
“The trees are stressed right now,” explained Don Barnicott, the owner of Western Tree Services, an organization that deals with tree removals, and dangerous tree assessments.
After an unusually warm start to the fall season, two atmospheric rivers are predicted to hit Vancouver’s coast this week.
In light of the upcoming storms, Barnicott says that he has been extremely busy cutting down trees that have been deemed as a potential safety hazard.
“This heavy rain is still in leaf bloom, so that puts a lot of wind-sail in the trees so they will topple over in the heavy winds,” Barnicott explained.
He says his team was forced to remove one tree due to the heavy rains.
“We had a Hemlock tree that had got undermined so the soil eroded so we had to cut it down before it came down over [a] fence,” he said.
Brett Gilley from the Department of Earth Oceans and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia, says this year’s atmospheric river could also affect the soil. He also adds the strong rain can break weak branches.
“When the soil is really dry, the roots aren’t as strong and holding into the ground,” Gilley said.
“If we see winds with this, we might see a lot of trees coming down, and yeah, those sorts of materials can add to landslides, making them into debris flows or debris floods that also impinge on our transportation routes, and potentially homes,” he explained.
Barnicott says if people are concerned about potential damage from trees, keeping an eye out for weak spots can be a good preventative.
“Have a look if you see a shifting in the roots, [or if there are] any dead branches hanging in your trees,” he said.
Barnicott warns that keeping an eye out for things that look out of place is a good plan.
“Look out for branches that are broken or cracked, or hanging down… Call your local tree service and they’ll come up and look at it for you, even if you’re not sure. It’s better to have somebody come out and look at it,” he said.