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Falling tree warning: Why the winds in coming days pose a greater than usual risk

Neil Mitchell
Tree fallen across road

Victoria’s leading tree expert has warned there will be an elevated risk of tree falls in coming days.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds in place for a large part of the state, with wind gusts of up to 70km/h expected in Melbourne and 100km/h in elevated areas.

Botanist and chair of the National Trust of Victoria’s Register of Significant Trees, Dr Greg Moore, says the winds pose a greater threat than most strong winds because they’re, unusually, coming from the south-east.

“The trees haven’t been tested with winds from that direction,” he explained to Neil Mitchell.

“So if you get the combination of very wet soils … and you get winds from an unusual direction … then yes, there is a greater risk of trees falling.”

Victorians are being warned to be alert, after several tragic tree falling deaths in recent years, and Dr Moore says the risk is growing.

“We don’t really know how significantly greater because no one has measured but there has certainly been an indication over the last couple of years because with climate change you get more easterly winds and we have seen some big trees fall,” he said.

The biggest warning sign for tree falls in built up areas is construction.

“Usually … it’s where the root system has been disturbed, so if the trees have had roadworks, pipe works, if you’ve put a drive way over them, built a house nearby, that certainly increases the risk,” Dr Moore said.

Press PLAY below to hear Dr Moore explain the tree fall risk

Weather warnings as Victoria braces for wild, wintery day

Neil Mitchell