It seems as though things are slowly getting back to normal after the ice storm. With that being said, here are a few tips to help your trees recover from the after-math of the storm. If you plan on doing any pruning yourself, be careful to cut any damaged branches properly and safely! When it comes to trimming and pruning, if you have any doubts, don't. Contact a professional to help you with your trimming if you have ANY doubts!
1. Big Trees Are Tough!
A mature shade tree can usually survive the loss of one or two major limbs. The broken branch should be pruned back to the branch collar (pictured below). If the limb broke into the trunk, so that a clean branch collar prune is not possible, some bark removal may be needed to smooth the edge of the wound. When pruning large limbs, remember to use the 3-step pruning method. See below.
2. Little Trees Are Tough!
Young trees can sustain quite a bit of damage and still recover quickly. If the central leader is intact, and the tree still has a manageable structure, remove the broken branches and let the tree recover.
3. Wait and See!
If a valuable tree is a borderline case and isn’t an immediate threat to cause damage, don’t make a hasty decision. It may be best to wait and see how the tree responds. Prune broken branches, give the tree a little time to recover, and then a final decision can be made.
4. Don’t Overdo It!
Don’t worry if the tree’s appearance isn’t perfect. With branches gone, the tree may look unbalanced or naked. You’ll be surprised how fast they will heal and grow new foliage. There is a tendency to overprune trees to balance the crown. Be conservative on the pruning…you can always remove more limbs later, but you can’t put them back!!
5. Don’t Add to the Shock!
As damaging as an ice storm can be, the good thing is most trees are dormant this time of year. Think about a dormant tree as a person under an anesthetic going into surgery to have his or her appendix removed. During the growing season, the tree is more like a person going into surgery without the anesthetic. A storm-damaged tree will be in a state of stress or shock. Make sure your tree first-aid is helping the tree and not creating more stress.
6. Water Your Trees!
If conditions become dry, trees will need 1⁄2 to 1 inch of water per week during the growing season. Be careful not to over-water trees, especially on heavy clay soils. Check the soil under the trees. Water only if the soil is dry. Watering will help trees repair and rebuild and will help them defend themselves from insect and disease pests that attack damaged trees.
If you have any further questions regarding your trees, please feel free to give us a call, we would be happy to assist you and your trees! Thank you and God Bless.