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Storm damage with down trees
Trees down after a storm

Trees Damaged by Storms

Recent storms have caused damage to trees, landscapes, and homes across the country. Many damaged trees are too large for inexperienced or ill-equipped homeowners to safely remove.  There are over 50 fatalities yearly nationwide for professionals removing or pruning trees, and the rate is much higher for people not trained in specialized tree work. Proper tools and equipment, as well as safety procedures, must be used and proper protective equipment worn. Do not work near power lines or poles, and do not work alone.

Pruning initiates wound response (compartmentalization), isolating microorganisms and insects to avoid further damage. Cut limbs back to a lateral branch collar swelling, do not leave a stub. Do not paint or seal wounds, but allow trees to heal naturally. Remove broken or damaged limbs, but not more than one-third of the branching system of any tree. If more than one-third of branches have been damaged, remove the tree. Evergreens may uproot due to heavy foliage and branches. Deciduous trees uproot when roots are compromised or if trees have a full canopy of leaves adding weight to the top. Evergreen trees may not re-grow to a typical shape following pruning. Wounds allow openings for fungi, bacteria, and insects to invade, therefore trees should be monitored for vigor. Insects such as ants are attracted to stressed and damaged trees, but may not be the cause of a problem. Contact a professional arborist to evaluate and prune damaged trees.

- Nancy Gregory, plant diagnostician