Cleaning Up Trees after the Storm

Broken trunks, downed branches, and uprooted trees are telling the tale of the major storm that passed through the region on Monday. Although the damage seems devastating, trees have an amazing ability to recover from even the most severe injuries. Follow these simple steps to address trees damaged by the storm.

  • Look up and look down. Be alert and stay away from downed utility lines and hanging branches that look ready to fall. Clearing access roads and evaluating forest stands containing hanging limbs and bent trees is dangerous. Use safety precautions at all times.
  • Assess the damages. Evaluate your trees carefully by asking the following questions: Other than the storm damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous? Are major limbs broken? Is at least 50 percent of the tree's canopy still intact? Are there remaining branches that can form a new branch structure? If you answered "yes" to the majority of these questions, there is a good chance for complete recovery.
  • Get professional advice.  Leave dangerous work such as overhead pruning or removing trees, especially large ones, to professionals who are trained in tree care.  Certified arborists are equipped to do the job safely and are insured.  Woodlot owners concerned about stand damage should seek advice from a licensed forester. Trees with up to 10% canopy loss can be managed normally; however, each stand is different. Site quality and other factors must be considered in management decisions. Contact an ISA certified arborist, a licensed forester, or your County Forester for more information.
  • Prune storm damaged limbs. If there are no power lines nearby and no other safety concerns, remove the jagged remains of broken limbs. This will minimize the risk of decay entering the wound. Resist the urge to over-prune and don’t worry if the tree's appearance is not perfect. Your trees may look unbalanced or naked, but you will be surprised at how fast they will recover, grow new foliage, and return to their natural beauty.

Learn more about tree recovery and find tree care professionals in your area. Go here for information on hiring a professional, proper care of storm damaged trees, and storm clean up safety.