Click to Visit
Boundary News
[E-mail story]  [Print story]
Posted: Apr 13, 2009  11:16

Saving Trees From Storm Damage


The piles of snow are finally gone from my yard and if you are having the same experience, much debris is left behind. Winter can be tough on trees, one of our greatest resources, and spring storms are just beginning. While you may be anxious to clean up some of the mess, doing the right things after trees have been damaged can make the difference between giving your trees a good chance of survival and losing them unnecessarily. The National Arbor Day Foundation urges home and property owners to follow a few simple rules in administering tree first aid after sustaining damage:

  1. Don't try to do it all yourself. If large limbs are broken or hanging, or if high climbing or overhead chainsaw work is needed, it's a job for a professional arborist. They have the necessary equipment and knowledge needed, and are generally listed in the telephone directory under "Tree Service."

  2. Take safety precautions. Look up and down. Be on the alert for downed power lines and dangerous hanging branches that look like they're ready to fall. Don't get under broken limbs that are hanging or caught in other branches overhead. And, unless you really know how to use one, leave chainsaw work to the professionals.

  3. Remove any broken branches still attached to the tree. Removing the jagged remains of smaller sized broken limbs is one common repair that property owners can make after a storm. If done properly, it will minimize the risk of decay agents entering the wound. Smaller branches should be pruned at the point where they join larger ones, making clean cuts to help the tree recover faster. Large branches that are broken should be cut back to the trunk or a main limb.

  4. Repair torn bark. To improve the tree's appearance and eliminate hiding places for insects, carefully use a chisel or sharp knife to smooth the ragged edges of wounds where bark has been torn away. Try not to expose any more of the cambium (greenish inner bark) than is necessary, as these fragile layers contain the tree's food and water lifelines between roots and leaves.

  5. Resist the urge to over-prune. Don't worry if the tree's appearance isn't perfect. With branches gone, your trees may look unbalanced or naked. You'll be surprised at how fast they will heal, grow new foliage, and return to their natural beauty.

  6. Don't top your trees! Untrained individuals may urge you to cut back all of the branches on the mistaken assumption that reducing the length of branches will help avoid breakage in future storms. While storm damage may not always allow for ideal pruning cuts, professional arborists say that "topping" - cutting main branches back to stubs - is one of the worst things you can do for your trees. Stubs will tend to grow back weakly attached branches that are even more likely to break when a storm strikes. In addition, the tree will need all its resources to recover from the stress of storm damage. Topping the tree will reduce the amount of foliage on which the tree depends for the food and nourishment needed for re-growth. A topped tree that has already sustained major storm damage is more likely to die than repair itself. At best, its recovery will be slowed and it will almost never regain its original shape or beauty.

For additional information visit

Your comments, questions and green tips are welcome at
Next week: Celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day


Comment on this article
submissions are subject to publication
(100 words maximum)

More Headlines...


Article Search

Please support our
sponsors, click here
to purchase items on
  Featured Ads
Click to Visit
Click to Visit
Click to Visit

Created by

Site, images and content copyright © 1999-2018 by, Inc. All rights reserved.

DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript