In our last article, we talked about how to decide if a tree damaged by storms and inclement weather should be removed, or given a chance to revive. It’s a decision many homeowners in southeastern Pennsylvania are having to make in the wake of record levels of rain and more than a few hail storms.
If, in consultation with your trusted landscaping professional, you decide that a storm damaged tree is worth saving, there are two things it will need from you: time and TLC. Here are a few tips to help you bring the tree back to as healthy a condition as possible:
1. Prune carefully. The first thing you will want to do with a damaged tree is remove any branches or limbs that are half broken off or dangling. Prune them back to where they branch off, whether that is from a larger branch or the trunk. Be careful that in doing so you do not remove any more bark, as excess bark loss can be a cause of decay or infestation.
2. Don’t prune too much. It can be tempting when you’re working with a tree that has lost several branches, especially if the loss is concentrated in one area, to try to “even it out” by cutting even some healthy branches. This is a mistake, however, and may compromise your tree’s ability to recover, as the tree will need all the healthy foliage it can produce to provide nourishment for it as it heals.
3. Smooth out rough patches that have missing bark. Ragged edges left from patches of bark that have been torn off as the tree’s branches broke are a prime spot for insects, pests, or disease to enter. By carefully using a knife or chisel to smooth out the edges of the wound left from torn bark, you reduce the likelihood that decay or an infestation will keep the tree from healing.
4. Get help. There are many reasons to enlist the aid of a professional when dealing with damaged trees. Beyond the knowledge and skills they bring to the situation, they also have the proper tools for the job, and are trained to complete it safely. Attempting to cut off a damaged tree limb on your own could result in injury to yourself or others, or damage to your property.
With time and care, many trees damaged by storms can recover and go on to provide beauty and character to your outdoor space for years to come. If you are unsure of whether a damaged tree can be salvaged, or how to care for a tree that’s worse for wear after a storm, contact a landscaping expert today!