While large, old trees can be beautiful their age often makes them more prone to damage from the elements. Storms, wind and rain all take their toll and over time can cause branches to break off or even knock over your trees completely. As arborists we always recommend getting the older trees on your property maintained by a professional, but if you’re on this page chances are it’s a little late for that! Here’s what to do if your tree is damaged by a storm.
Identifying the Damage
The first step is to work out the extent of the damage. A storm damaged tree can often be saved with a bit of clever pruning, but it’s important to know when a tree is unsalvageable. Have a look at the tree’s branches and foliage. If the tree:
- Is healthy looking apart from the damage;
- Still has its major limbs and larger branches;
- Has at least 50% of its leaves and branches intact;
- Is in a good position, taking into account proximity to building’s and powerlines;
- Is still solidly rooted in the ground.
You may be able to save it. Of course, all of these are just guidelines and you may be able to save your tree regardless. If you think you might be able to save it, it will come down to proper care now and over the coming months to see if it can recover from the damage.
Saving Your Tree
If you want to save your tree from the storm damage, there are a number of things you can do. After you’ve cleared up the broken off branches and repaired any immediate damage, it’s time to clean up the tree itself. Trimming off broken branches and dead foliage can aid in the regrowth process if you trim the correct branches, and cleaning up tree wounds (bark and damaged branches) with a sharp knife can stop bugs from finding their way into damaged areas.
You want to make sure the tree is clear of anything that could lead to further damage or reduced growth. However, make sure not to prune back too much as you may end up causing more damage. Try to avoid removing any healthy leaves, as the more sunlight your tree can absorb at this point the better. Lastly, when cleaning tree wounds try not to expose the green inner bark of the tree, as this is delicate and essential for proper tree growth.
Call in The Professionals
If you’re not confident in pruning your tree or the damage is significant, it’s worth biting the bullet and calling in a professional arborist or tree removalist. Most reputable experts in these areas will be able to assess the damage and give you a better idea of the health of your tree and whether it can be saved or not. If the tree can’t be saved, a professional can safely remove the tree and ensure no damage is done to your property.
If you have a storm damaged tree you want to save, it’s important to get moving as early as possible. Our arborists are available and more than happy to answer any questions you have about caring for or restoring damaged trees. Call us today on 1300 006 090 for information and advice.