How to Care for Trees Damaged by Snow and Ice
Following severe winter weather, homeowners with damaged trees are left wondering if they will survive. Often ice, snow and wind can leave quite a mess in addition to damaged personal property. But it’s very important to know when trees can be saved with simple restorative trimming and pruning, or if they need to indeed be removed entirely. Making hasty decisions can often result in removing trees that could have been saved.
Stay Calm and Be Patient
The first thing to do is stay calm and call a professional ISA certified arborist who can inspect your trees for damage and provide an evaluation. Doing the right thing can make the difference between giving your trees a healthy future and losing them altogether. Take the time to find out what your options are. Removing damaged trees should always be your last resort. The first step is typically removing any fallen limbs that pose a damage to the homeowners property. Certified tree-service companies like Tree Tech must focus first on dealing with hazards to life and property. After that, one of the city’s major tasks is the removal of storm damaged trees, branches and debris. Homeowners should be aware that a tree between the street and sidewalk is typically city-owned and is the city’s responsibility.
Trees are amazingly resilient and many recover with proper care and time. Despite the urge to do something immediately, try to be patient. As long as a damaged tree does not pose an immediate physical risk, the advice is simple: If you’re unsure about its condition, keep the tree for now.
Here’s How to Assess the Damage to Trees:
Before writing off a damaged tree as a total loss, ask yourself the following questions:
- Other than the storm damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous? If the tree is basically healthy, is not creating a hazard, and did not suffer major structural damage, it will generally recover if first aid measures are applied.
• Are major limbs broken? The larger a broken limb is, the harder it will be for the tree to recover from the damage. If a majority of the main branches are gone, the tree may have little chance of surviving.
• Has the leader (the main upward-trending branch on most trees) been lost? In species where a leader is important to upward growth or desirable appearance, this may have to be a judgment call. The tree may live without its leader but, at best, would be a stunted or deformed version of the original.
• Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown (branches) still intact? This is a good rule of thumb on tree survival. A tree with less than half of its branches remaining may not be able to produce enough foliage to nourish the tree through the coming growing season.
• How big are the wounds where branches have been broken or bark has been damaged? The larger the wound is in relation to the size of the limb, the less likely it is to heal, leaving the tree vulnerable to disease and pests. A 2- to 3-inch wound on a 12-inch diameter limb will seal over with new bark within a couple of years.
• Are there remaining branches that can form a new branch structure? The remaining limbs will grow more vigorously as the tree tries to replace its missing foliage. Check if branches are in place that can eventually fill out the tree’s appearance.
• Is the tree of a desirable species for its location? The best decision may be to remove the tree if the tree is not only seriously damaged but also is in the wrong location, such as a potentially tall tree beneath a power line, or is an undesirable species for the property, such as messy fruit.
To have your storm damaged trees assessed and treated by a certified Massachusetts arborist, call the tree care experts at Tree Tech today at 888-873-3832. Tree Tech has been providing tree treatments, tree trimming and pruning and complete year round tree services for 25 years through Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Visit us at www.TreeTechinc.net for more information about a free Arborist damage inspection