If you live in a hurricane-prone area like Volusia County, you will likely be faced at some point with the important question, “Can my storm-damaged tree be salvaged?” This is an important question that is always difficult, because we never like to be faced with the decision of removing our beautiful trees, but unfortunately it sometimes becomes necessary. You will likely want to consult with a tree professional during these situations, but here is some advice to guide you in the process.
Cracks in Trees and Split Trunks
Among the most serious types of damage a palm tree can suffer are large cracks and split trunks. Contributing factors to these occurring, besides strong storms, include weak spots where branches are attached and internal health problems such as disease. A large majority of the time trees with split trunks cannot be saved unless they can be braced using cabling. This is usually only attempted on high-value trees because of its cost.
Uprooted and Leaning Trees
Many people are also under the misconception that uprooted trees are un-savable after a big storm passes. That’s entirely not true but it takes fast action after a storm has passed to do it. The highest success rate for replanting uprooted trees involves uprooted trees that are less than 4 inches in diameter. Trees over 4 inches in diameter rarely can be saved so it’s not worth the expense of replanting and cabling them.
A tree that is leaning after a strong storm is a concern too. Leaning trees need to be straightened as quickly as possible if the extent of their lean has left any portion of their roots exposed. Leaning trees need to be staked back in place and have soil placed in any voids very soon after they are partially uprooted in order to save them. Once again, the smaller diameter and younger the tree the better chance they have of recovering from being partially uprooted.
A tree that’s left leaning after a storm that has not had its roots exposed will probably survive on its own. You will want to assess the situation though. If the tree is going to grow in an unsightly manner or in a way it may cause other problems, you may opt to dig around its root base and try to straighten it and then stake it. Sometimes it’s easiest to just remove a leaning tree especially if it’s an older one. Never leave a leaning tree standing that has the potential to become a danger to people or property.
This is by far the most common type of tree damage after a storm bearing strong winds has passed through an area. When assessing the extent of the storm damage to any tree branch, you must do so by determining where the branch damage took place in regards to that branch’s collar. A branch collar is the area at the base of a tree branch where it widens and attaches to the main trunk of a tree. There are smaller branch unions found throughout the length of a branch too.
Any severe damage that is done to a branch prior to the branch collar means that branch normally can simply be pruned off to help that tree become healthy again. Prune it off at the nearest unaffected branch union or in cases of severe damage prune the entire branch off back to its branch collar.
This article is very general in nature and tree damage is often best assessed on a case by case basis. Give us a call and we would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you have about your damaged trees. We are experts at assessing damage on the wide variety of trees found in Central Florida.
For help with your tree removal project, please give our team a call 24/7.