4 Types Of Storm Damage A Tree May Not Recover From
Downed branches are common issues following a storm, but sometimes the damage to your tree is much more severe. The following storm injuries can mean it's time to remove the tree, depending on the severity of the damage.
1. Crown Loss
Damage up in the crown is the most common type of storm damage. The wind whips around branches, breaking them off. Hail can splinter branches and knock loose all the foliage in the crown. Foliage loss isn't usually fatal, although the tree may benefit from additional fertilization and minimal pruning. Minor branch loss will require pruning to clean up the branch stub wounds and to balance the crown. Losing more than half of the branches is considered major branch loss, which many trees can't survive so removal is usually recommended.
2. Root Failure
A combination of high winds and saturated soils can cause the roots to break free. If your tree is leaning following a storm, or if the soil around the trunk is churned up from tree movement, then there is a failure in the roots. Often the problem is weak, shallow roots that either loosen in the soil or break off completely under the stress of wind movement. Due to the danger of a falling tree, it's usually a good idea to simply remove a tree with weak roots unless it is very young. Young trees can be stabilized with a stake until they grow a deeper root system.
3. Split Trunk
High winds and other storm stresses can split a tree trunk in two. Trees with multiple or Y-shaped trunks are more prone to splitting, as are those with a heavy low branch growing on only one side of the trunk. If the split doesn't descend too far, your tree service may be able to bolt and splint the split back together. The tree will grow new wood over the wound over time. More severe splits are less likely to seal over so it is best to remove the tree so it doesn't pose a hazard.
4. Lightning Strike
Lightning strike damage ranges from minimal to deadly, and deciding whether to remove can sometimes be a challenge. Removal is generally the best option if there was extensive burning in the crown or if the lightning scar is on both sides of the trunk. Otherwise, the strike may have only dealt a glancing blow and the tree may recover fully. If the tree is still struggling the following year, then removal should be considered.
Contact a tree service if you need assistance with a storm-damaged tree.