UNITED STATES—Arborists become more popular after storms. That is when consequences of negligent tree maintenance become more apparent. Wind dislodges limbs and destabilizes whole trees. Unfortunately, the most diligent of tree maintenance cannot prevent all damage. Trees and other vegetation are naturally vulnerable to frequently stormy winter weather.

Deciduous trees try to be less vulnerable to wind by defoliating prior to winter. Without foliage, they are less resistant to wind. In other words, they are more aerodynamic. Wind blows through them rather than against them. Unfortunately, some defoliate slowly within the mild climate here. With such minor chill, some retain foliage until spring replacement.

For example, some sweetgum still retain much of their foliage. That is an advantage for the display of their autumn foliar color. It is a major disadvantage for their aerodynamics though. As a deciduous species, it does not expect to be so vulnerable to wind through wintry weather. What is worse is that sweetgum trees are innately structurally deficient.

Trees tend to catch wind of climate conditions, and adapt.

Evergreen trees and other vegetation seem to be less concerned about wind. Actually, they merely employ different defensive tactics. Most cypress and some spruce are too dense and sturdy for wind to penetrate. Many pines develop sparse canopies that wind blows through. On the coast, coast live oak stays low and broad for wind to blow over.

Regardless of their efforts, trees of all sorts are vulnerable to damage from wind. Falling limbs or entire trees are very hazardous. Also, they can damage or destroy what they fall onto. That is why timely maintenance of trees is so very important. Any tree that becomes too hazardous to salvage necessitates removal. All trees eventually age and deteriorate.

Also, all trees, as well as all other vegetation, are messy. Some are messier than others; and many get messier as a result of wind. Some of such mess clogs eavestroughs and downspouts when they are most helpful. Detritus fills curbside gutters also. Actually, it gets everywhere. Its removal will be easier between the windy storms that generate it.

Highlight: Blue Gum

Almost no one adds blue gum, Eucalyptus globulus, to a landscape intentionally. Almost everyone who is familiar with it understands why. It is much too big and much too messy. Even where space is sufficient for it to mature, it is innately hazardous. It sheds big limbs from very high up. It often disperses its roots too shallowly to maintain adequate stability.

However, blue gum inhabits a few home gardens. Some were already there as gardens developed around them. Some grew from seed from nearby trees. Blue gum naturalizes in some regions. Mature trees are tall enough to share their shade, debris and seed with a few gardens. The copious debris inhibits weeds, but also inhibits desirable vegetation.

Blue gum in the wild is one of the tallest trees in the World. Naturalized trees commonly grow more than a 150 feet tall here. They stay shorter in windy situations. The tall and straight trunks constantly shed long strips of smooth tan bark. Fresher bark is tan, gray, greenish or even pinkish. The curved lanceolate leaves are quite aromatic. Ovoid juvenile leaves are bluish gray, and even more aromatic. Fuzzy staminate bloom is white.

Tony Tomeo can be contacted at tonytomeo.com.