A major storm, especially one that includes high winds, can wreak havoc on your landscape trees. Tending to tree damage as soon as possible after the weather clears may enable you to save any damaged trees. The following tips can help.

#1: Assess the Damage

Storm damage comes in many forms. Common forms of damage include:

  • Broken and split branches

  • Split forks

  • Bark damage

  • Uprooting

Check each tree on your properly and make note of the type of damage it has suffered.

You can create a treatment plan now that you know what you are dealing with. For each plan, decide whether you will need to prune, clean up wounds, or attempt a replant. Generally, trees will survive heavy pruning as long as at least a third of their branches and leaf canopy will remain to support the tree. Uprooted trees can also survive, if they are young and the bulk of the root ball is intact.

#2: Prune Properly

The right tools are the first step in pruning. Use bypass pruning shears for branches with a diameter equal to your thumb or less, and a pruning saw for thicker branches. You can use a ladder or a pole pruner to reach branches higher up in the canopy. Cut each damaged branch off where it joins to the nearest undamaged branch. Try and keep the canopy balanced by removing an equal amount of wood on all sides of the tree.

#3: Treat the Wounds

Sometimes storms only wound trees. Torn bark can be treated easily by simply trimming up the ragged edges of the bark to where it is firmly attached to the tree with a clean knife. This will encourage quick healing.

Trees with forked trunks that split can sometimes be saved, but this is a job for a tree care specialist. They will pull the fork back together and then bolt and cable it in place. This protects the interior wood from outside infections and allows the tree to continue growing. Eventually the wood will heal over, if the procedure is done properly.

#4: Know When to Give In

Not all storm-damaged trees can be saved. Uprooted trees that suffer major root damage, trees that split deeply, and those with major branch or bark loss will likely die. It's also possible for infection to attack those with minor damage, eventually leading to their death. Have badly damaged trees removed promptly. Leaving a dead or severely weakened tree on your property can be a danger in the next storm, since it will be more prone to falling on structures or dropping a heavy, damaging branch.

Contact a service like Jonny's Tree & Landscaping Co., LLC for more help.