In Denver, we’re prone to strong storms that come through in the Summer months, bringing in hail and strong winds. The wintertime can also bring in storms that can damage trees with its icy rain and heavy snows.
With those strong storms, they can cause a hefty amount of damage to your property in terms of costs and stress. It’s important to take steps to either prevent trees or tree limbs from falling on your home or know what to do when that happens.
There are things that you can do to help protect your trees during storms. If your tree gets damaged during a storm, there are also specific things you can do to prevent further damage to your tree. Here are several tips below on both subjects.
As always, it’s important that your trees are already strong and healthy. That way they are better equipped to “weather the storm” and stand-up to bad weather.
Prevent Trees From Storm Damage
Here are a few steps you take prior to stormy seasons to ensure your trees stand a chance against terrible weather events.
- Make sure to trim and prune your tees. Cutting away dead or diseased branches helps not only protect your property, but your safety, as well. Cutting away dead twigs will also let additional air and light in through the canopy which makes your tree healthier. (You can read more about proper pruning techniques here.)
- You can protect your tree against lightening strikes by installing a lightening protection system. These systems use conductive cables that run through the ground and absorb storm electricity. Protection systems will keep trees from taking the burden of the lightening.
- Regularly check your tree for signs of poor health that could lead to further damage during a storm. Look for peeling bark or cracks on the trunks. Leafless limbs, dead branches, and cavities in the trunk are also indications that your tree has fallen ill. A sick or dying tree could be an indication that it’s time to remove the tree so it doesn’t cause potential damage to your property. For more signs on if your tree is dying, check out this article.
Help For Storm Damaged Trees
Here are some suggestions to help your trees recover from storm damage.
- Firstly, do not try to do it all yourself. If large limbs are broken or hanging, or if high or overhead chainsaw work is needed, it is a job for a professional arborist. Storm damaged trees can be dangerous.
- Take safety precautions. Look up and look down. Be on the alert and stay away from downed utility lines and dangerous hanging branches that look like they are ready to fall.
- 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 or the leader (the main upward-trending branch on most trees) branch still remaining?
- Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown (branches and leaves) 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.
- Broken branches or stubs that are still attached to the tree should be removed. Removing the jagged remains of broken limbs minimizes the risk of decay agents entering the wound.
- Proper pruning cuts should be used to avoid damaging the tree further.
- Topping, the cutting of main branches back to stubs will not help avoid breakage in future storms. Instead “topping” will encourage the growth of many weakly-attached branches that are higher and are more likely to break during a storm. Also, topping will reduce the amount of foliage, on which the tree depends for the food and nourishment needed for re-growth. A topped tree that has already sustained major storm damage is more likely to die than repair itself.
As aways, if you need assistance assessing your tree to see if it needs to be removed prior to storm season, call one of our certified experts for advice!