A large storm, particularly one that brought high winds, hail, or heavy snow, can wreak havoc on your landscape trees. Damage can range from minimal to extensive enough that the removal of the tree is necessary. When surveying your trees after the storm has passed, ask yourself the following four questions so you can determine whether or not the tree can be saved.
Are any large limbs broken?
The large lateral limbs of the tree make up the primary framework for the canopy. If a large limb breaks off cleanly or can be cleanly sawed off, you may be able to save the tree if it has enough remaining limbs to support the root system. You will likely need to have the canopy trimmed and rebalanced, though; otherwise the tree may begin to lean toward the more heavily limbed side. Sometimes large limbs break and tear down the side of trunk, resulting in a split trunk. In this case, the tree will likely need to be removed.
What is the state of the trunk?
Major damage to the trunk can kill a tree slowly. If a large amount of bark has been ripped off, either from limbs tearing free or from blowing debris during the storm, then the tree may not be able to move enough water and nutrients between the branches and root system. The result is that the tree will die slowly as it starves to death. Lightning strikes can also cause major trunk damage, such as causing the trunk to split or burning out the center of the trunk.
Are the roots disturbed?
Check the area surrounding the base of the tree for disturbance. If the soil looks churned up, especially after a storm with high winds, then the roots may be damaged and the tree could pose a fall risk. A tree that begins to lean following a storm also may become uprooted. If you suspect root damage or disturbance, have the tree professionally assessed to see if it needs to be removed.
Did the tree damage any structures?
Survey the structures and utilities surrounding the tree. Did the tree branches scrape against the house or roof or become entangled in power lines, as a result of the storm? Were any branches dropped that caused or could have caused major damage? In some cases, you may be able to keep the tree after a good pruning to prevent future damages. In others, the tree's location may be unsafe during future storms, so removal is the best option.
Contact tree services like Arborcare Tree Service for more help.