Trees After the Storm
………. can this tree be saved?
By Paula Dinius, WSU Chelan County Extension Urban Horticulturist
It’s important to understand that any tree broken, moved, or damaged in anyway by the wind has been compromised. Once compromised a tree could have a high possibility of failure. Some trees can be saved others must or should be removed.
The first and most important thing is to determine if the damaged tree presents a hazard in anyway. This would be described as a tree, or any part of a tree that could fall on an area where people, structures, cars, equipment, etc. are present or may be present. This would include homes, garages, carports, barns, cars, streets, sidewalks, playgrounds, parking lots, etc. Also, if over head utility lines are present and could be hit if the tree falls. If this is the case, then the tree is considered a hazard and removal may be necessary.
In many cases it is apparent the tree should be removed. But, there are circumstances where it is not always clear. In those cases it is prudent to consult with a tree professional. Look for a tree professional with International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certification, or a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCS), or Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).
CAUTION – HAZARD Tree work can be extremely dangerous. A tree care company should be used when:
Below are some general guidelines to determine if you should attempt to save your tree.
1. Down/Up-rooted trees: Removal
2. Partially Up-rooted trees (leaning)
A. Hazard potential: The tree is leaning in a direction that could hit people, structures, personal property, utility lines or otherwise cause injury or damage ……Removal
B. Not hazard/ not potential hazard Based on Tree height and degree of lean
- Medium to tall tree (over 25’) with any degree of lean, except very slight, showing soil/root disturbance: Removal or Consult Tree Professional.
- Medium to tall tree (over 25’) with very slight degree of lean and no soil or apparent root disturbance: Consult Tree Professional
- Medium to tall tree (over 25’) with slight to moderate degree of lean and slight or no soil/root disturbance: Removal or Consult Tree Professional
- Medium to tall tree (over 25’) with moderate to severe degree of lean and soil/root disturbance: Removal
- Young or small tree (under 25’) with high to moderate degree of lean and soil/root disturbance: Removal or Consult Tree Professional
- Young or small tree (under 25’) with moderate to slight degree of lean and minimal or no soil/root disturbance: Staking
3. Broken limbs or top
A. Hazard potential
The tree is leaning, or has cracked or split branch(es) in a direction that could hit people, structures, personal property, or otherwise cause injury
OR has lost more than 50% of its crown: Removal or Consult Tree Professional
B. Broken top
- Large trees where the break is very near the top of the tree (upper ¼) If top is still attached call Tree Care Professional to remove broken top (the higher the break the better the recovery potential)
- Large trees where the break is lower on the tree (lower ¾) Remove if it is a hazard.
- Young or small trees where the break is very near the top (upper ¼) Train new leader.
- Young or small trees where the break is lower on the tree (lower ¾) Remove and replant; Broadleaf that has lost its main leader
- Any tree that has lost more than 50% of crown
- Large to medium tree
- Hire Tree Professional to clean out broken branches
- Small tree
- Remove or Train new leader
C. Torn branches and bark
- Branch stubs ……….. Prune stubs
- Torn bark…………. Repair torn bark
Recommended Reading (Only Numbers 1-3 are active for now)
- In the Storm’s Wake
- Can These Trees Be Saved
- Tree First Aid After a Storm
- Watch Out for Scam Artists Posing as Arborists
- Reducing Tree Damage in Future Storms
- Others Have Recovered
- The Value of Trees in a Community
- The Importance of Urban & Community Forestry