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St. Augustine arborist warns against trimming healthy trees before big storms

It's common advice to trim trees as a hurricane approaches. But one certified arborist points to research that full, healthy trees protect your home

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — When a big storm approaches, people will often trim tree branches, thinking it’s better than having them fall and hit their home.

Instead of trimming their trees, Certified Master Arborist Danny Lippi said, "People should have their trees assessed to see if they are structurally sound."

Lippi said sometimes people trim trees – or are talked into trimming branches -- when they really don’t need to. Sure the dead branches and dead trees need to go, but a healthy tree can actually protect your home.

He says a healthy tree is going to help protect your house from wind, from erosion. 

"It’s going to buffer that wind load, and it’s going to protect you," Lippi said.   

He said research shows those lower limbs, if they’re healthy, are really beneficial. That's the case even for palm trees. However, tree companies will often nearly scalp palm trees, like ones at the Publix-anchored shopping center in St. Augustine Beach recently. Lippi said that weakens the tree. 

"The more leaves and branches you have inside your tee and down your canopy, the stronger your tree is in the wind and the less your tree will bend and twist and break during storms" Lippi noted. "It’s the opposite of what most tree trimmers promote." 

RELATED: Planning Ahead: Trimming trees before storms could save you money in the long run

And he said branches that are close to the house or to the roof may not need to be trimmed.  

"Not if they’re attached correctly and not if they’re structurally sound."

And who should access your trees?

Lippi suggested, "You want to ask a tree person, 'Are you associated with a tree trimming service?'"

Lippi says, a person associated with a tree trimming company may end up trimming trees that don't need to be cut back. So ask for their qualifications

The qualifications Lippi recommends you look for are called TRAQ which stands for tree risk assessment qualified.

A TRAQ arborist can tell you if your tree is healthy or if it needs to be trimmed, and that could save you some money and your trees. 

RELATED: Florida faces $1.2M verdict for killing citrus trees

RELATED: Upgrades at Marion Park are not enough to bring the park back to life, neighbors say

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