June 19, 2014 4:15 pm
Updated: June 19, 2014 4:36 pm

City searching for ‘hidden hazards’ in trees left over from ice storm


WATCH: Toronto city official says immediate concern is finding the “hidden hazards” and dealing with them

TORONTO – City staff are still finding trees damaged during December’s ice storm.

The storm felled hundreds of trees and branches across the GTA but many remain standing with broken or cracked branches.

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“What we want to do from that is to find any trees that have any hidden hazards or cracked branches that haven’t been assessed yet. So we want to make sure that we address any current threats to public safety,” Brian Mercer, the city’s supervisor of forest policy and standards, said.

He said broken branches leave an opening for disease to penetrate the tree.

That pre-existing damage can become apparent during windy days or storms like the one that passed through Ontario Tuesday when, weakened branches can split off and fall, posing a risk to people, cars and homes.

City staff are currently in the middle of a structural review of Toronto’s tree canopy.

A report following the December ice storm suggested better trimming of trees would be beneficial in the event of a future storm.

The ice storm also left lingering effects on parks and hiking trails in Ontario, which were damaged by a cover of slowly thawing ice that remained into the spring season.

Arborist Dave Gilbert suggested Torontonians worried about precariously hanging branches should call an arborist or professional to inspect the tree.

He also suggested arborists could “thin the crowns of the tree” to let wind flow through them easier, thus preventing damage from high winds.

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