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Tree Maintenance after a Hurricane or storm

Although trees are resilient and will sway and bend during hurricanes and storms, there will be times when they also get badly affected by battering wind and rain. Trees might look desolate after a storm, but this can be helped with proper trimming by professionals. Damaged trees might look like they are dying, although some of them could be restored while others would have to be removed and still there would be some that do not actually require special treatment and could be left alone to recover. Consult your tree trimming specialist to assure proper maintenance is done on your trees.

First Things First – Set up Priorities

What is important is to gauge the damage to the trees immediately after a hurricane or storm. It is very important to check if your trees are a safety hazard to humans and animals. They could potentially cause property damage, especially if they have fallen on your house, utility lines, or other structures. Proper trimming and thinning of the tree on a regular basis can prevent trees from being damaged during a hurricane or storm.

Get Professional Help

It is better to leave the cleanup and maintenance to the experts, as they have the necessary knowledge and tools to do the job efficiently and quickly. They can judge which trees to remove and which trees to save. Investing in proper trimming and thinning all year round will have a direct and long lasting impact on the trees' health and the value of your property.

Although there are things you can do to start the cleanup after a hurricane, do not attempt to do everything yourself. Call a tree care professional to handle most of the job involving damaged, uprooted and broken trees. Working with power tools such as a chainsaw can be very dangerous and doing cleanup work, restoring damaged trees, reaching limbs that need trimming and climbing, pose a danger even to professionals. When it comes to working with trees after a hurricane or storm, it is important to look around, down and up. There might be fallen branches that are caught up in other branches that could fall, so safety is a priority. 

Factors to Consider

Although some trees might still be standing after a hurricane or storm, it is still important to make a careful evaluation of which trees will likely recover and which ones have to be removed. A tree service professional is the expert who can decide which trees to save and nurture, perform the necessary maintenance and do the cleanup. Here are the factors to consider:

  • Amount of damage to the tree
  • Tree age and size
  • Tree species
  • Health of the tree
  • Tree structure
  • Site conditions
  • Cultural value
  • Previous cultural practices
It goes without saying that the more damaged the tree, the more work it will require. The tree expert will check what parts of the tree have been affected, how much of the canopy had been torn off and how big the wounds are, because the larger the wound, the more vulnerable the tree would be to pests, diseases and decay.

The tree specialist will be able to assess matures trees that may have to be removed, including those that already have many defects such as extensive decay, cracks and bark inclusions.

Generally, trees are candidates from removal due to any of the following:

  • Large limbs are broken
  • Cracked or broken lower trunk
  • Major roots are broken/severed
  • A large stem has split from the trunk
  • Fallen tree leans on a structure
  • Remaining tree structure is susceptible to further damage
  • Trees with girdling (circling) roots

Healthy trees are likely to recover once they are properly restored through efficient and proper trimming. Some of the conditions that apply include:

Damaged Tree Restoration

Even if trees received a forceful battering, there are still many species that could be restored through proper care by tree service professionals. Still, proper selection of trees to be restored is crucial. Only trees with trunk, major limbs and roots that are intact are good candidates for restoration. There should be root girdle around the tree trunk and no bark inclusions. There should be no visible cracks on the trunk and any of the major limb. Moreover, the roots should not be exposed or lifted from the soil. It is also very important to leave as much live wood to sufficiently provide the tree with as much energy stored within the limbs for it to survive. 

Palm Tree Assessment

Palm trees grow differently. The tip of the tree trunk is the palm tree's growing point, which is surrounded by fronds that originate from one bud. It the palm tree is single–stemmed and the bud has been severely damaged, in all probability the palm tree with die. It is possible for a palm tree to survive if it has multiple stems and some have remained intact during a hurricane. At times though, it is difficult to access the bud in a tall palm that remains standing. If this happens, leave it be for observation. It could at least six months for the palm to have new fronds, and these frond could be misshapen, discolored and stunted. It will take another one to two years for a partially damaged palm to return to its normal state and show a full canopy. Give the recovering palm sufficient water about three times a week for six weeks if the weather turns hot and dry. Palms should not be over-trimmed because it will lose the leaves that help in the production of food. Likewise, the other green leaves will act as protection for the bud.

Cleaning Trees after a Hurricane

Post-hurricane cleanup of trees is actually quite dangerous, and also poses risks on lives and property, thus, it requires tree service professionals to do the job for you. Broken and torn off branches that are entangled in other branches could suddenly fall off.

There are minor cleanup work that you could do yourself, such as sweeping fallen leaves and removing broken branches and stems that have fallen to the ground. But if you are not experienced in trimming and the job requires the use of a chainsaw while standing on a ladder, it is best to call a professional rather than attempt to do the task yourself. They should be able to do the following:

  • Prune efficiently and cleanly to promote good tree structure
  • Restore a damaged tree that could still be saved; remove hazardous and dead tree limbs
  • Have the tools and equipment needed to reach high branches and remove a broken limb or leaning tree that is endangering structures
  • Have your tree service specialist take down trees in difficult to reach areas

On the subject of tree service, ensure that you are contracting with a legitimate one. They should be capable, have all the required equipment and most of all, have insurance. It is advisable to keep your trees well-maintained especially before the advent of the hurricane season to reduce tree damage and risk of injury and damages to humans and inanimate structures.