DAMAGED TREE ADVICE FROM ARBORETUM EXPERTS
CUTTING YOUR (STORM) LOSSES: HELP DAMAGED TREES
Let The Tree Experts Explain And Show Proper Tree-Care Techniques
LISLE, IL (June 24, 2010) – Wicked thunderstorms left a trail of tree limbs strewn around. Clearing debris isn’t enough. To protect your storm-damaged trees from any possible long lasting effects, follow The Morton Arboretum guidelines for proper pruning.
When high winds rip large limbs off a tree, “it is far better to have a clean cut than leave a jagged edge,” says Plant Information Specialist Doris Taylor of the Arboretum Plant Clinic, which diagnoses tree and other plant problems and recommends solutions.
Damaged trees attempt to isolate their “wounded” areas, growing a “wall” of cells to block any possible tree rot from infiltrating the trunk. However, when a wound is jagged, the wall could be compromised, leaving the tree vulnerable to diseases or pests, Taylor says.
To cure the problem, the Arboretum recommends a three-step pruning technique. In Step One: cut to remove most of the damaged branch, to reduce the weight pulling on the trunk. In Step Two: make a cut beneath the remaining damaged branch, approximately one-third of the way up through the branch. Make this cut between the edge and the “branch collar,” a swollen area where the branch arises from the trunk. In Step Three: make a final cut entirely through the branch, just beyond the branch collar.
Never cut flush with the trunk, which would cause a very large wound and make it difficult for the tree to heal. In contrast, trees that receive a clean cut develop a hard edge, like a callous, which is a sign that the tree has healed.
Hanging branches are hazards to people or property, and should be pruned as soon as practical.
Taylor emphasizes that some jobs are dangerous for average homeowners, who never should climb a ladder to prune a tree, and especially not with a chain saw. Similarly, if a tree is blown over or the trunk is so severely damaged that the tree may fall, safety is a primary concern. Homeowners should call a certified arborist to handle these cases. Such arborists can often save young or small trees – up to about 15 feet tall – that are partially blown over.
Lightning sometimes kills a tree outright, and other times causes no damage. It sometimes takes a year or two for death to occur. After lightning strikes, prune the tree for safety otherwise wait until the following growing season to assess damage. Keep tree well watered and fertilized, according to Taylor.
The Morton Arboretum is a world-renowned leader in tree science and education, working to save and plant trees. The 1,700-acre outdoor museum features magnificent collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. Central Time until sunset. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit Press Room at www.mortonarb.org, call to learn more.