Did a Storm Damage Your Tree?

January 15, 2009

Winter storms cause tremendous stress and severe damage to trees in the urban forest. Obviously, a snapped or downed tree should be removed. What about a tree that suffers minor damage? How can a homeowner tell if a tree is safe?

Assessing the Damage
Minor damage - with only the smallest branches of the tree being injured usually results in little or no permanent injury to the tree. All that is required is cleanup of the broken twigs and branches and perhaps a crown cleaning or thinning prune to restore a pleasing shape. More severe damage - large broken branches, split crotches, removal of bark and splitting or splintering of the trunk can be caused by strong winds and heave rain. When a tree is severely damaged, the first question that must be answered is. "Is the condition of the tree such that keeping it is worthwhile?" A tree care professional should be consulted to answer this question.

Factors to consider when determining if a tree is worth saving: Species, age, growing location, value it adds to the property and sentimental value.

If a tree is not worth saving, remove it as soon as possible. If it is not removed and the tree dies, it could become a hazard tree. Removal of hazard trees is dangerous to the tree care crew and requires special techniques, adding to the cost.

Treating the Tree
Assuming the decision has been made to repair the tree, the next question is: "Am I capable of repairing the damage myself or should I seek professional help?" Major repair will undoubtedly require the use of a chain saw and climbing equipment. Unless one is experienced in the use of such equipment and comfortable working off the ground, it may be best to have the work performed by a competent professional. Inspect your trees for damage after a storm. If a tree has hazards, such as broken, hanging limbs, or a split branch union (sometimes called a branch fork), you should have a reputable tree care company give an assessment. This is important because you could be held liable if the hazard branch or tree falls and damages property or causes personal injury.

For Information and Consulting contact
Santa Ynez Valley Tree Care
your local tree care provider at (805) 688-5580
Partially Reprinted from Tree Care Industry Magazine

Santa Ynez Valley Tree Care • 688-5580 • Lic. #750949

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Santa Ynez Valley Tree Care
P.O. Box 1147, Santa Ynez, California 93460

(805) 688-5580

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