How Moisture & Over-Saturated Soil Weakens A Tree’s Stability

By Chris Green

After seeing the aftermath of a storm, you may have thought, “why did some trees fall and others are fine?” Weak trees can be knocked over by the wind, snow, ice, and even rain.

Moisture can play a major impact on mother nature knocking trees over on your property. You want to make sure, especially if you have trees that are close to your home, that excess rainfall isn’t weakening the stability of your trees.

When the soil around trees on your property gets too moist or oversaturated, the excess water replaces the oxygen in the soil. This hurts the tree because the roots of the tree need oxygen to stay healthy and function. Over-saturated soil affects the tree short-term and long-term.

Short-Term Effects

The short-term effects are at the roots of the tree. The roots are what hold the tree into the ground. So when the tree is covered with heavy snow or ice or is being hit with strong gusts of wind, the roots hold the tree in place. However, if the soil is oversaturated, the roots are unable to hold the tree down. This means if it is hit with a strong gust of wind, it may fall over during a storm.

Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of over-saturated soil around trees are that the roots can begin to rot, also known as root rot. They may also develop fungal diseases that can make the tree weak and easier to knock over with wind and other weather events.

Drainage pipes allowing rain water


To ensure your trees aren’t susceptible to oversaturation of the soil around them, the most effective thing you can do is control the flow of water to improve drainage in the area around your trees.some things you can easily do to control this is to loosen the soil and make sure there are no surfaces that will stop the flow of water from the area around the trees or allow the water to pool in the vicinity of the roots of the tree. You can install a drainage system or add organic substances such as peat moss or compost.

Trimming or pruning your trees is another way to help keep your tree from toppling over. It will keep the weight of the limbs and branches down to prevent them from catching the wind gusts during a storm which pushes the tree over if it has a weak root system.

In areas of the United States with rain or snow, it is best practice to have a local tree service with an experienced arborist come out and inspect your trees regularly to make sure your trees are strong enough to withstand a storm.

In conclusion, while it is impossible to stop weather events from damaging trees and limbs completely, it is possible to make it much less likely. If you need a tree service in Kennesaw or the surrounding areas, call Scott’s Treewurk and we will come out and assess your property. You can visit our website at 

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