Repairing Storm Damage
Strong winds from storms can cause severe damage to landscape plantings. After a storm, you must consider whether they are worth saving. If so, you must decide whether to make repairs yourself, or contact a professional. When in doubt, a good arborist can evaluate the situation and give you an estimate on repair or removal costs. There are many certified arborists in the Kansas City Metro Area. Look under tree services in your local telephone directory for more information.
As you assess the damage to your landscape plantings, you must ask yourself why the damage has occurred. Weaker wooded trees such as maples and ashes have a tendency to break more easily; however poor branch structure may also attribute to excessive branch loss during a wind storm. Branches that grow nearly parallel to the main trunk will be much weaker. When pruning your trees, remember that branches with crotch angles 45 degrees or less will break much easier. Trees with dense branching structure will also be vulnerable. Thinning out excessive branches will allow more wind penetration during a storm.
When removing branches, decide which ones must be removed and where to make the pruning cut. Only use sharp tools to ensure clean, flush cuts. Jagged cuts will not heal properly and can lead to more severe problems in the future. When making cuts do not remove the branch collar - the swollen portion of tissue where the branch is attached to the main trunk. Make the cut just slightly outside of the branch collar. Pruning paints are not necessary to apply to wounds. Research proves that pruning paints do not benefit the healing process. Trees having loose bark should have it removed to the point of attachment. Be cautious not to trim into the wood of the main trunk.
In order to minimize damage to trees and shrubs from storms, try to prevent the damage from occurring. Proper pruning to ensure good air circulation and strong crotch angles will help prevent further damage during a storm.
Related Information: All About Pruning, www.oznet.ksu.edu