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Pine Tree Toppling Danger With Saturated Soil

“How the mightly have fallen” could apply with equal force to pine trees after a storm as politicians after an election. Pine trees (Pinus spp.) Are hardy North American natives but their standing for toppling in moist winter storms makes some hope to plant them. Prior to rule out upgrading your lawn with a beautiful evergreen, comprehend the factors which make trees fall and what you could do to affect them.


Roots are a tree foundation and anchor. The wider, deeper and stronger a tree’s roots, the better it can withstand flooding and wind. Pine-tree origins are not, by nature, shorter or poorer compared to deciduous tree roots. Root length varies among species but pine roots typically distribute more than two times the height of the tree. But urbanization takes it toll on tree roots. In case a pine grove is thinned for house construction, the origins of remaining trees are damaged and can begin to decay. Similarly, pines planted in shallow soil or in an area with bedrock will not develop the deep origins they should survive a storm. If you care about your pine’s health, then do not allow its root area to be excavated or compacted.

Soil Saturation

Intuitively, it seems the more water that saturates the soil, the more likely a tree is to drop, but this isn’t necessarily the situation. Watery soil isn’t simply dirt that has been dampened, it is dampened soil which isn’t draining. Sandy soils drain off water fast while clay soils hold onto water. Based on an article in the March 1988 issue of “Journal of Ecology,” the rooting firmness of very sandy soil may increase with water. Moreover, trees with weakened origins blow over after just a little bit of rain or none in any way. Planting a pine in well-draining dirt provides the tree critical protection from storms.


Windthrow is an important factor in tree toppling. To comprehend windthrow, consider how a lever works: You wedge the underside of a long pole under an object, then thrust against the pole. The force required to move the item is much less than if you tried to give it a push. In a storm, tree trunks act like levers. The wind pushing against the back and canopy applies force into the origins of the tree, a force which increases with the height of the tree.


Pine trees are especially prone to wind because they are often the tallest trees from the forest. Many pines are fast-growing species which pioneer a site and fast rise to dominance. As the overstorey forest layer, pines suffer most from windthrow and possess least protection from surrounding trees. In addition, their evergreen status means they hold a significant canopy to the top of the tree all winter, making them more of a goal in high winds. Selecting briefer pine species and planting with some wind protection can reduce the danger of a toppling tree.

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