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Storm DamageStorm Damage to Your Trees can be Dangerous

If you live in the St. Louis area, you know just how quickly a storm can pop up while it moves in and out quickly. They bring heavy downfalls of rain, huge winds, and lightning, not to mention a ton of snow in the winter. It's important to assess your trees after a big storm of any type.

It doesn't take long for a storm to damage trees near your home, which are the same trees that protect your home from the heat and strong winds. An assessment includes a very detailed process to decide which trees are still viable and which need trimming or removal.

Inspection Before Storms Hit

The best practice is to have year-round tree care to promote healthy trees, great growth habits and trimming when it is needed. Branches can fall on your vehicle, or you may have a tree near electric lines that needs pruning so you don't lose power in a storm. Tree maintenance should be part of your landscaping routine to avoid these types of scenarios. Inspecting your trees before storms hit and again afterward can help you to maintain your beautiful property and to keep it safe.

Look for Broken Branches

Broken branches may be overlooked, but they can be a hazard to any structure nearby or to people that walk by it or even to the tree itself. When a tree has a broken branch that is hanging, it needs to be removed. Trees that have limbs completely broken off them are vulnerable to many types of disease and insects that could actually kill your tree over time. However, a professional tree service has specialized treatments for disease and pests to apply when a limb is broken to help keep these pesky problems from invading your tree and causing it further harm. Trees should be assessed for any cracked, broken or split branches, some of which are difficult to see unless you have a very tall ladder.

In addition, you should check your roof and all of your possessions on your property and remove any broken branches or debris. This is important because debris and limbs that stay on your roof will get wet during each subsequent rainstorm and will eventually cause roof damage--a very large repair indeed.

Look for Leaning Trees

If you have tree maintenance with your landscaping then they are the best service to assess your trees and take care of them. They will be able to spot any problems with your trees. For example, if a tree is only slightly leaning after a storm, it is very likely that is may topple over after another storm. A leaning tree, no matter how little it leans, is also a sign that there is root damage to the tree. Some trees that are leaning slightly can be staked securely in an upright position so they can recover.

Pre-Storm Pruning and Thinning

One item that can really help your trees to survive storms is to have a certified arborist thin canopies that are too dense and full and don't allow some wind to pass through the branches. Some trees may need pruning before the stormy seasons of summer and winter to maintain their shape and keep them in their allotted space while not allowing the limbs to be near utility lines. These two practices can help save your trees so they can withstand strong winds and heavy rain showers or snow.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

It's important to have a professional do your post storm assessment, as they will know which trees can be saved, how to care for them and which will need removal. Some of the guidelines are the tree size and age. Young trees that have trunks smaller than 4 inches in diameter have the best changes of a comeback. Some tree species are prone to internal decay if they lost limbs and they may or may not be worth restoring, while other species are very hardy. The tree health is also a consideration. A young tree with strong limbs has a greater chance of recovery than an old tree with a decaying trunk or roots. Some trees may be damaged severely and just not be able to be saved. Other trees may have fallen in a storm, but they appear healthy and may do great if it is replanted very soon. Damaged trees benefit from fertilization to help them back to health and restore good growth habits.

It's All in the Timing

All trees need a recovery period after damages of any sort occur, even if it lost a lot of its leaves. Branches shouldn't be pruned right away on damaged trees but restorative pruning should be done after the leaves have grown back on the tree. This gives the tree time for photosynthesis and energy storage for a great recovery. A tree needs to have its strength restored after a storm so it can withstand the trauma associated with pruning it. If you have trees that were more than 50% damaged in a storm, it is likely that the tree will die from the stress in a few years. These trees should be removed and you can plant a new one in its place.

The best idea is to have your trees taken care of along with your landscaping by a professional. They can help you to avoid many tree problems associated with whipping winds and flooding rains that can harm your trees, cause damages to your property and be a danger to people. 

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