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Tree First Aid After a Storm

Aug 22

Tree First Aid after a Storm

Property owners are quick to respond to a major storm by saying "Let's clean this mess up!" However, many trees are removed because of rash decisions.


Doing the right thing can make the difference between saving your trees and losing them. Here are some simple guidelines to help you deliver St. Lucie storm damage emergency first aid.


  • Do not attempt to do everything yourself. If you have large limbs that are hanging or broken, or if overhead chainsaw or climbing work is needed, a professional arborist should be called. They are knowledgeable and have the right equipment. Their phone numbers can be found under "Professional Tree trimming Service", in most phone books.

  • Be safe. Both look up and down. Be on the lookout for fallen power lines or dangerously dangling branches. If there are any fallen or broken electric lines near you, avoid them. Avoid being caught in broken branches or hanging from them. If you don't have the skills to use a chainsaw properly, it is best to leave this work to the professionals.

  • Take out any damaged branches. Property owners may be able to remove the jagged remains from smaller broken limbs after a storm. It will reduce the risk of decay agents entering the wound if done correctly. At the junction of smaller branches, it is important to trim them. An arborist should trim large branches that have fallen to the trunk or main limb.

  • Repair torn bark. To improve the tree's appearance, smoothen the edges of any bark that has been removed with a chisel/sharp knife. This will eliminate the possibility of insects hiding in the area. Do not expose more of the cambium (the greenish inner bark), as this delicate layer holds the tree's food supply and water lifelines between the roots and the leaves. (see Illustration D2).

  • Avoid over-pruning. Don't worry if the appearance of your tree isn't perfect. You might notice your trees looking a bit bare or slanted without their branches. It will surprise you how quickly your trees recover and grow new leaves.

  • Pruning your trees is an important task. Untrained people may tell you to trim all the branches. They mistakenly believe that reducing the branches' length will prevent them from being broken by future storms. Professional arborists recommend that your "topper" (or cutting back main branches to stubs) is the worst thing you can do for trees. This applies even if you are unable to make perfect pruning cuts due to storm damage. Stubs are more likely to grow a lot of weakly connected branches that are more susceptible to being broken by storms. The tree will also need all its resources to recover from storm damage. If the tree is topped, it will reduce the amount of leaf the tree depends on for nourishment and food. If a tree is topped that has been damaged in a storm, it is more likely to die than to recover. Its recovery will be slow at best and it will almost never recover its original beauty or form.


Cutline: If a branch is too heavy to be pruned, it might break off. This will remove the bark and leave jagged edges that invite disease and insects. These instructions will prevent that from happening.


  • Take a small cut from underneath the trunk, at a distance of several inches.

  • Make a second cut from a distance of at least several inches from the first one to allow the limb's safe fall.

  • Finalize the job by cutting just outside of the branch collar. This is the area where the branch connects with the trunk.


Tree Trimming Pros St Lucie

Port St. Lucie, FL