Restoring a Storm Damaged Tree

Restoring a storm damaged tree

Large trees with majestic crowns spreading upwards and outwards into the sky are very special things. Usually specimen trees such as these are quite strong and resilient, but even the strongest trees can be damaged by extreme weather.   We’ve had season full of high winds, lightning strikes and even tornados.  Branches or even large sections of trees can be broken causing much damage to the health, strength and beauty of these giants.  Proper pruning after storm damage can prolong the life and bring back the splendor to a damaged tree.

When routine pruning takes place on a tree, the arborist has the luxury of deciding where to make the proper cuts.  Storm damage is a completely different situation.  Every situation is different and the arborist has to deal with the “hand dealt to us.”  Jagged branches should be cut back smooth so there is less surface area for decay and insect damage to penetrate.   Numerous smaller cuts are often better than 1 or 2 larger cuts.  These smaller cuts grow over faster, and create less excessive branch sprouting than bigger pruning cuts.  When possible, storm damaged sections should be cut back to lateral limbs.  This quickens the recovery of the tree and also reduces the branch sprouting effect.

Restoration of a tree takes time and often multiple pruning cycles.  The first round removes the broken branches and the best pruning cuts possible are made.  In many cases it is a good idea to follow up 2-3 years later and perform a “crown cleaning” pruning.  This is where we prune out some of the new growth so that we can develop a proper long term growth structure.  Rubbing, criss-crossing, and competing new growth is removed.  We leave the branches that are strongest, healthiest and most likely to become part of the permanent canopy of the tree.

Cabling support systems may also be used to help trees weakened in storm situations.  If pruning is not enough, we can install a variety support cables or bolts to help hold branches together so that they don’t split.  In order to accomplish this, holes are drilled through the limbs and a cable is passed thru and tightened to keep the limb from swaying back and forth.  This can be a very effective way of making a tree safe and providing peace of mind, allowing you to sleep easy at night and not worry about the tree breaking every time there is a strong wind.

An arborist from Hoppe Tree Service can help you decide the best approach to dealing with your storm damaged tree.  We also offer comprehensive hazard tree assessments which can aid you in making a decision before a tree breaks in a storm.

August Hoppe

Certified Arborist WI-0477A

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