SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Strong winds and heavy rain can topple trees like toothpicks. So what can homeowners look for to determine if trees in their yards are healthy?

We spoke with certified arborist Jeff Strader. He uses a root probe to see if there’s any separation from the tree to the root plate. He says this is something homeowners can do using a rod or a very long screwdriver.

The soil probe I use is to kind of help determine do we have a root plate separation and that from,” says Strader.

He describes the tree’s anatomy as a wine goblet sitting on top of a China plate. The goblet is the tree and China is the root plate. If there are one or more indicators of an unhealthy tree you could run into some problems during the weather.