The wet summer has left area trees especially vulnerable to even the weakest winds. As we approach the peak hurricane season, the chances increase that the region will be impacted by more rain and possible wind.

Take a short walk into a wooded area and you'll most certainly see trees toppled for a number of reasons. 

Chris Thomsen with the Virginia Department of Forestry points out a downed tree along the Roanoke River Greenway in Salem. "You can see this root has rotted. It just breaks in two. Kind of a two by four piece of wood and it breaks right in two.

It's a combination of things that may cause a tree to topple.

"Most of the tree roots are only one to two feet below the surface of the ground."

The reality is, with the soaked ground this summer,  a lot of the trees have been practically floating. 

The leaves are also on the trees, so it creates added weight when the trees start blowing around.

Finally,  it's what you can't see that will get you.  Roots could be rotting below the surface or insects may have hollowed out the trunk. Both could cause the tree topple during high winds.

"Look around your tree for the warning signs," says Thomsen. Being proactive might just save your property in the long run.  

"Take a metal device and pry around in the the tree and look for cavities. We say if you have more than 50% of the tree that is a cavity, it needs to come down." 

Other things to look for.  Is the tree leaning? Are their cracks in the trunk? Has the tree stopped producing foliage? Is their an excessive amount of mushrooms and moss near the base? This could be a sign your tree's roots may be decaying.

Thomsen also suggests sizing up the trees around your home. If they are close enough that they could cause damage if they fall, it's best to cut them down and then replace them with a tree more appropriate for the landscape.