A fast moving monsoon storm passed through Litchfield Park Monday evening, August 26, 2013, leaving damage to City property, the Wigwam Resort and personal properties throughout the City. The picture above shows several large shade trees that blew over in Turtle Park. Camelback Park also lost several large trees that were toppled over from the wind. A large tree limb from one of the old Arizona Pine Trees on the Eastern edge of Old Town Litchfield Park broke off and landed on the cities perimeter wall causing damage to the wall.
It is estimated that the City lost forty to fifty trees in city parks and rights-of-way. Private property damage has not been estimated but it ranges from downed trees to broken limbs and damage to roof tops and fences caused by tree damage. The Wigwam’s Patriot and Gold Golf Courses lost an estimated fifty to sixty large trees that were blown over and uprooted by the wind and additional trees suffered broken limbs or were broken to pieces by the wind.
Monsoon season comes to Arizona annually and the intensity of monsoon storms usually varies year to year and from area to area. Do not wait until after the monsoon season is underway before thinking about the safety of your trees, property and family. Practice proactive tree care! Any money spent in preventive maintenance of your trees will most likely be minimal compared the unexpected expense of a tree that falls down in your yard, especially if the tree falls on your home, car, fences or other structures. Sometimes damage can’t be avoided but in the majority of cases tree failures are the result of mismanagement.
Tips to minimize damage to your trees during a monsoon storm…
- Plant new trees with their mature size in mind. Do not plant in shallow soils, too close to buildings or wires or in steep banks.
- Design an irrigation system that encourages progressive radial distribution of roots as trees mature. The irrigation system should allow separate water scheduling for trees and shrubs. Water deeply but infrequently. Be very careful when planting trees in grassy areas. Irrigation for grass tends to be more frequent and less for over all time. This type of watering pattern can cause tree roots to stay closer to the top soil creating the potential for the tree to tip over in heavy winds.
- Prune trees annually (preferably before monsoon season) even while the trees are still young. Having your trees trimmed by a Certified Arborist – a professional who has been certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is your best bet for avoiding problems.
- Avoid excavating around roots. If some excavation is necessary, take measures to minimize cutting or any other impairment of the roots.
- Do not top trees! This common but incorrect practice guarantees eventual failure of branches.
- Water, mulch and fertilize the trees regularly and properly. Prevent the soil from becoming compacted.
Litchfield Park Residents…
To assist with the cleanup of your personal property, Litchfield Park city crews will be providing curbside green waste removal. The city’s goal is to begin this process as soon as possible but at the time of this post, no exact date has been determined. The city is recommending residents gather green waste and place it to the curb as soon as you can this week. A tree chipping crew will be around the city for a few days to chip up and remove residents’ green waste brought to the curb. No large stumps, building materials or anything other than tree limbs and green waste will be picked up. The city will not access personal property to remove tree trunks or over sized limbs and will only remove green waste brought to the curb.