Inspecting Your Trees After a Storm: What You Need to Know
It's important to inspect the trees in your garden after a storm or even a quick, intense bout of adverse weather. Damaged trees can be dangerous, so you need to identify hazards and take the necessary action. Some of this work can be done yourself, but severe damage might need to be rectified by a professional tree management company. So what are some types of tree damage that can be expected after a storm, and what should you do about it?
Branches and Foliage
Inspect the upper branches of your trees. Look for large branches that have cracked and might be unstable. These need to be removed as they can easily fall, posing a danger to your family, pets, or even your property. Position a ladder at the trunk of the tree, paying attention to any overhead power lines. If the tree is in the vicinity of any power lines, do not attempt to remove any damaged branches yourself. You need to call your electricity company or local council. If there are no power lines, carefully climb the ladder (it can be wise to have someone to steady the ladder while you work). Gently tug the damaged branches, being careful to retain your footing. If the branches come loose and can be safely dropped to the ground, then do so. Damaged branches that cannot be removed in this manner should be removed with a hacksaw. If there are any branches that are damaged and yet you are not able to remove them, then you need to secure them. Wrap a strong rope around the length of the branch to secure it, essentially tying it into place. Ensure that everyone in your household knows to stay away from the tree until further notice. Contact a professional arborist to have the branch removed.
Depending on the length of any cracks in the trunk, the tree might need to be removed. Partial cracks will destabilize the upper sections of the tree, and these will need to be professionally removed. The tree will then recover, but its growth will be stunted as it now lacks the leaves needed for photosynthesis. It's likely that the tree will return to its former glory, but this will take time. The time required will depend on the variety of tree and how much foliage remains. Longer cracks can mean that the tree cannot be saved and will need to be removed. There is no true urgency with this, although the weakened tree can simply fall over in the next storm. Even without a storm, it will eventually die and can become dangerous as it begins to shed its branches.
Is the tree now at an angle? This does not necessarily mean that the tree cannot be saved, although exposed roots mean that the tree can easily fall. Smaller trees can be stabilized by hand. You simply need to carefully make space under the exposed roots, gently push them back into the ground, adjust the angle of the tree so that it's straight, and compact the soil on top of the freshly buried roots. A strong stake can also be placed into the ground and secured to the small tree with twine for added stability. Larger trees cannot be repaired in this manner. If a large tree has exposed roots and now grows at an angle, again you will need professional help as the tree will probably have to be removed.
Some trees can be salvaged after a storm, and yet there are some instances when strong weather means you need to say goodbye to a few of the trees in your garden.