5 Questions: After the thaw
Association offers advice on tree damage
The Tree Care Industry Association answers questions about dealing with winter damage to trees.
Q: Recent ice and heavy snow caused some damage on a tree in my back yard. Is my tree doomed?
A: In case of moderate storm damage, restoring the tree to its former health may take some time, but it generally can make a full recovery.
Q: How can I tell if a tree is safe?
A: By 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 heavy ice storms. 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.
Q: What criteria would a tree professional use to determine if a tree is worth saving?
A: “Most arborists will take the time and effort to save a tree only if the tree will still be healthy, attractive and of value to the property owner after repairs,” explained Tchukki Andersen, staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association. “A tree care expert may recommend removal of a tree that has brittle wood and a branch structure that makes it vulnerable to additional damage from future storms. Trees that have been topped by storms are prime candidates for removal.”
Q: Are there other factors to take into account whether a tree is worth saving?
A: Other factors to consider when determining if a tree is worth saving are the species, age, growing location, value it adds to the property and sentimental value.
Q: What if a tree isn’t worth saving, can I wait to have it removed?
A: 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 requires special techniques, adding to the cost.