Hurricane Sandy, Isabelle, Katrina, Harvey – these are some of the most memorable and devastating storms in recent history. Here in Maryland we are impacted by two hurricanes a year, on average. These hurricanes or tropical storms can bring torrential rain, flooding, and high winds that can even produce tornadoes. And conditions like these can bring severe damage to our homes, vehicles, and trees.
After a storm passes through, it’s important to do an immediate assessment to the trees on your property. Trees do have an amazing resilience to weather damage if it remains structurally intact. Here are a few things to assess in trees following a storm event:
- Is there major structural damage? Do you see any cracks, splits, leans, or peeling bark in the trunk?
- Are major branches broken? What percentage of the branches have experienced damage?
- Is the main leader intact? Damage to the leader (main stem upward from the trunk) may result in irreparable condition for the rest of the branches which tie into the leader.
- How much of the crown is damaged? A tree typically needs to retain at lesat 50% of its foliage to support the health demands of the tree.
- How large and how many wounds are there (in proportion to the size of the tree)? A large wound will take much longer to heal and leave the tree vulnerable to pest and disease.
- Are there obvious risks to keeping this tree in place? Damaged trees near homes, vehicles, or structures on your property are more likely better candidates for removal.
Once the extent of the damage is assessed, we can create a prognosis and recommended management plan. The 3 approaches are 1. Monitor, 2. Repair and Monitor, 3 Removal. And each option depends upon the species, age, and health of the tree prior to the storm.
- Monitor. This is the approach for trees that have endured only minor damage and do not really need any intervention. They can heal on their own and have a good chance of survival.
- Repair and Monitor. With this approach, we clean up any wounds, prune damaged branches, and possibly install cable supports to alleviate stress on the tree. This approach is best for high value and/or hardy, young trees that have a good chance of survival.
- Removal. Once the crown is damaged beyond 50%, it’s unlikely to make it through the next growing season. A significant split in the trunk, lean, or exposed roots would mark the end for a healthy tree, let alone a previously weakened tree. Don’t take chances with these types of trees – have your arborist remove it.
If you’ve experienced tree damage from a recent storm, we can help survey the damage with a complementary tree assessment performed by an experienced arborist. We can offer a suggested management plan for any trees on your property that might require service, either in the short term or long term.
For over 40 years, Manor Tree Service has worked with residential customers in eastern Baltimore County and western Harford County, operating from our Glen Arm, MD location. Call us today to schedule an appointment!