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Falling trees can injure and kill | News

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Falling trees can injure and kill
News, Weather
Falling trees can injure and kill

ATLANTA -- Another round of storms means another round of fallen trees in Metro Atlanta.

LaShaundra Stansel is recovering after a huge tree crushed her car as she was driving home Sunday night on Henderson Mill Road.

"I saw the tree falling.  I tried to swerve, but I felt it as it came down across my seat and the passenger's seat," said Stansel.

Stansel managed to duck right before the tree struck and walked away from the accident with a split lip and a large bump on her forehead.

Not everyone has been so lucky this season.

On May 26 two women driving along Paces Ferry were crushed inside their Mazda Miata. That same day, a 19-year-old Mableton man was killed by a falling tree while clearing debris from his grandfather's driveway. On June 18, a 55-year-old woman was killed on Powers Ferry when a tree crashed into her moving car.

Peter Jenkins, president of the Georgia Association of Arborists, has seen trees cause massive damage. "A 30 ton tree, worst case scenario, can split a house," he said. "It can smash cars, take lives. These are huge, heavy falling objects."

He tries to spot the damage before the trees come crashing down. His tool belt is full of high and low tech tools, but he said most of the clues are obvious.

"Trees can't talk, so you have to be the detective," he said.

Mushrooms near the trunk of your tree suggest root rot: a top reason for falling trees. If you see a lot of dead branches on the ground, it could be a sign your tree is dying. Also look for weak spots. Imperfections in the trunk make the tree more likely to come down.

"And you have to understand that pine trees are very flexible. They move around like this, " Jenkins said, swinging his arms wildly. "So they scare people. Oaks just move a little, but they are more prone to root rot."

He said many people don't get their trees inspected until after a storm causes major damage. "Consider it an investment," he said.

He suggests hiring a tree inspector that is not affiliated with a tree removal service, as they may be more likely to suggest you take down the tree. He also suggests hiring an inspector that is certified with the International Society of Arboriculture.

You can check out Jenkins' website TreeInspection.com for a full rundown of how to tell if your tree is dying.

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