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Can a storm damaged tree be saved?

Aug 23

Many homeowners are faced with a simple question after a storm: Will their trees survive? This question is triggered by the initial urge to "get rid of this mess." Sometimes, removing trees that could be saved can lead to hasty decisions. These are some simple steps to help your trees recover from a storm.

Be patient

Every medical first-responder will tell ya Rule No. The number one rule is to remain calm. If you do the right things, your trees can have a better chance of survival than if they are not.

First, city officials, utility workers, and private tree-care companies must deal with threats to life and property. The city's main task is to remove storm debris, damaged branches, and sometimes whole trees. It is usually the responsibility of the city to remove trees between the sidewalk and the street.

Trees are resilient and can be rehabilitated with the right care and time. Try to be patient, despite the desire to act immediately. The advice is simple, as long as the tree is not in danger of being damaged, it's best to wait.

Stay safe

Chain saws are almost always used to provide first aid for trees damaged by a major storm. It is different from cutting firewood from trees that are already downed by storms. Trees and branches that have been bent or twisted are often under immense strain that is not visible to the untrained eye. Chainsaws can be dangerous and unpredictable tools for releasing stored energy. Safety is paramount when removing bent branches and branches that are more than six inches in diameter, and someone who has more experience than the weekend woodcutter.

Look both up and down. Watch out for hanging branches that appear ready to fall. Avoid utility lines that have fallen. When they are near fallen or broken electric lines, low-voltage telephone lines or cable lines or fence wires can be electrically charged.

Do not fall for a scam!

You should make a wise decision about the professional help that you are seeking. It will have long-term implications for your trees. Be patient.

A local professional might not be possible during large-scale disasters. Do not let anyone with chainsaws knock on your doors and offer to "repair" or remove your trees. Many of these people have no training and are not interested in taking money from unsuspecting residents.

In the event of a large-scale disaster, however, professional arborists may be able to travel from all over the country to assist in the recovery. Professional arborists could be calling your door in this situation, as they are part of coordinated efforts to cover large areas. These guidelines will help you determine the qualifications of the person knocking at your door.

  • If you can, find out if they are part of a local business. Look on the side for the company name and address if they are not from the area. In either case, look for a phone number listing, which is usually found under Tree Service.
  • Ask for current certificates of Insurance to prove that they are fully covered for personal liability, property damage, and worker compensation. For verification, contact the insurer.
  • The ideal situation is for the company to have a member of a professional association like the International Society of Arboriculture, National Arborist Association (NAA), or American Society of Consulting Arborists. Certified arborists have the ability to access current technical information about tree care, repair, and removal.

Assess the damage

Ask yourself these questions before you consider putting a tree that is damaged as dead.

  • Is the tree healthy and strong, other than storm damage? First aid can usually be applied to trees that are healthy and not causing a danger.
  • Are broken major limbs possible? The tree will have a harder time recovering from damage if it has a large limb. The tree might not be able to survive if the majority of its main branches have been removed.
  • Is the leader, which is the main upward-trending tree on most trees, gone? This may be necessary for species that require a leader to ensure upward growth and desirable appearance. Although the tree could survive without its leader, it would at best be stunted or severely deformed.