How to deal with Storm and Lightning Damage to Trees
All trees growing in their biologically correct area of the country are strong enough to withstand "normal" weather and temperatures. Swaying in the wind actually is like an exercise program for trees: it helps strengthen the wood materials in the stem or trunk and make it stronger. It is “abnormal” weather conditions and improper maintenance such as: hurricanes, tornados, down drafts, tree abuse, poor overall care and pests that weaken damage and kill trees.
There are six ways to catastrophically damage trees:
- Blowing them down
- Breaking the trunk, or damaging the underlying stem (beneath the bark)
- Severe Crown (the leaves, twits and branches of the upper part) twisting
- Root failure
- Branches severely broken
- Lightning strikes
Catastrophic damage most often results in total removal of the tree. Fixable damage, by pruning, sealing cuts and other attention can save trees not too severely damaged with broken branches, and only minor damage to stem and root systems.
The major prevention of losing mature trees is keeping them healthy: watering, pruning, fertilizing and spraying for pests. The more symmetrical a tree crown is the better. Often wind damage is caused by one side of the tree being much heavier than the other.
Lightening is a scary phenomenon to both man and trees. A lightning strike on a tree can either tear down the inside stem or along the tree trunk right into the roots. Lightning damage causes excessive water loss and opens up the weakened tree to pests. Lightning prevention equipment may be applied to protect historical, rare and recreational trees.
How can you tell if a tree can be saved?
In analyzing tree damage, the signs that point to being able to save the tree are:
- At least 50% of the tree is unharmed (70% damage is an automatic tree removal guide).
- Any wounds on the branches from excising broken branches must be small diameters compared to limb size.
- No severe damage to a leader or main upward branch.
- Remaining branches are properly spaced and have good symmetry.
- It is not a hazard in its present condition.