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What To Do About Storm Damaged Trees


Split TreeWhen the storm passes!

After a severe storm, many homeowners wonder “what to do about storm damaged trees?” Trees have an amazing ability to recover from storm damage. Hasty decisions can often result in removing trees that could have been saved.

Look around

  • Approach damaged trees with extreme caution—stay clear of downed wires and call 911.
  • If a large tree or branch is hanging or under tension, seek professional help.

Follow these simple steps for dealing with damaged trees after a storm.

  1. If the tree is healthy, is not creating a hazard, and did not suffer major structural damage, it will generally recover if you take first aid measures immediately.
  2. The larger a broken limb, the harder it will be for the tree to recover from the damage. If most of the main branches are gone, the tree may have little chance of surviving and removal should be considered.
  3. In species where a leader is important to upward growth or desirable appearance, it’s a judgment call. The tree may live without its leader, but it will be stunted or deformed.
  4. Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown (branches and leaves) still intact? This is a good rule of thumb on tree’s ability to regenerate and survive. A tree with less than half of its branches remaining may not be able to produce enough food to survive another season. Removal should be considered.
  5. How big are the wounds? Larger wounds are less likely to heal, leaving the tree vulnerable to disease and insects. A 2- to 3-inch wound on a 12-inch diameter limb will seal over with new wood and bark within a couple of years.
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Can remaining branches replace the missing branches?

The remaining limbs will grow more vigorously as the tree tries to replace its missing foliage. Look to see if branches are in places that can eventually fill out the tree’s appearance

  • The questions above will help you make informed decisions about storm-damaged trees. In general, the answer will fall into one of three categories:
  • It’s a Keeper If damage is relatively slight, prune broken branches, repair torn bark or rough edges around wounds, and let the tree begin the process of wound repair.
  • Wait and See If a valuable tree appears to be a borderline case, it may be best to stand back for a while and think it over. After carefully pruning broken branches, give the tree some time to recover. A final decision can be made later.
  • Say Goodbye

Some trees simply can’t be saved or are not worth saving. If the tree is already weakened, if the trunk is split, or if more than 50 percent of the crown is gone, the tree has lost its survival edge.  This would the best time to call Ryno Lawn Care.  We can help determine if you tree should be trimmed, repaired or removed from your landscape.

PDF Version : What to do about storm damaged trees

3 Responses

  1. I like that you mention how a tree with at least 50% of its branches and leaves can continue to survive whereas a tree that’s lost more than 50% won’t be able to. It makes sense that a tree that loses too many leaves and branches won’t be able to absorb enough sunlight to continue to live. Thanks for the post; I have a tree that’s lost a lot of branches and having a professional come out to inspect it could be helpful to ensure it’s removed properly or maintained correctly to continue to survive.

  2. It was really helpful when you said that in order to know whether or not the tree will survive after the storm, it’s best to check whether at least fifty percent of its leaves and branches were still intact. Actually, the tree in the yard seems to have more than just fifty percent of its crown still intact, so I have a good feeling that it will survive. I just think that it will not be able to do it on its own, so I need to hire a professional to help it regenerate. Thank you for sharing.

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