This season’s record breaking rain and hail storms have caused their fair share of headaches for homeowners. While the exterior of the home itself is often the most obvious place to look for damage, the softscaping and hardscaping in outdoor spaces are also at risk from harsh weather. If recent storms have taken a toll on the trees on your property, read on for a guide to how to deal with them.
Assessing the damage
Oftentimes the first thought homeowners have when they discover a tree has been damaged by the kind of rain and hail that’s assailed southeastern Pennsylvania this season is that they should immediately remove it. However a rush to judgment may lead to removing a tree that, although damaged, still may have been viable.
Trees have an amazing ability to regenerate and revive, and it is not uncommon, with time and care, for even weather damaged trees to rally.
The first rule of thumb then is to be patient and assess the damage objectively.
Remove or repair?
So how do you know whether a tree is worth trying to repair, or whether it needs to be removed?
Consulting a trusted landscaping professional will help you make an accurate determination, but here are a few things to look for on your own. Answering these questions can help you make a decision, or guide you in a conversation with an expert.
1. Is the tree so damaged that it poses a hazard to people or property? If the tree has been so severely compromised that it is in danger of falling over, interfering with power lines, or causing some threat to safety or the integrity of the home, this is a clear indication that it should be promptly removed.
2. Which branches have been damaged, and in what proportion? A main branch breaking off is more serious than the snapping off of a few smaller branches. Consider as well how much of the tree has been stripped of its branches. If over half of the branches are still there, that’s a sign the tree may be able to recover with time. If over half the branches have been lost, the tree may not be able to regenerate and produce enough foliage to make it through the next season.
3. How much bark has been torn off with broken tree limbs? When bark is stripped from a tree, it creates a point of entry for disease, insects, or other pests. The more bark has been lost, the less likely it is that the tree with recover.
Using these three questions as a guideline, and enlisting the help of a professional landscaper, you’ll be able to make sound decisions about maintaining the health and aesthetics of your outdoor space even in the wake of inclement weather.