Doctor of Stumpology
How To Minimize Storm Damage To Trees
Storm damage to trees is caused by
heavy, wet snow, freezing rain, lightning,
or high winds. All of these put
tremendous mechanical stresses on
leaves, branches, trunks, and root
systems of trees on your property.
Potential hazards to your safety, your
property, and your trees that are
associated with storms can be reduced
through proper tree maintenance. Proper
pruning, cabling and bracing, a lightning
protection system, proper tree selection,
and cavity filling are all methods used by
arborists to improve the chances of your
trees to survive these storms.
Result of typical storm damage.
Proper Pruning: Thinning the tree
canopy allows wind to blow
through the crown, instead of
against it as though it were a sail.
Pruned trees offer less resistance to high
winds and are less likely to suffer
breakage or to blow down. The removal
of potentially hazardous dead or weak
branches is an important safety practice.
Cabling and Bracing: Strong metal
cables and rods are used to relieve the
strain that causes structurally weak trees
to split and break in high winds, ice, and Tree needing pruning. Following proper pruning.
Whether used in prevention or repair of structural damage to trees, cabling and bracing provides a
support system to reduce the potential for fork splitting and branch breakage. Cabling and bracing
your trees, along with thinning the crown, will reduce the chances of costly damage.
Lightning Protection: Lightning strikes trees because they provide better conduction of the electrical
charge than the surrounding air. When a tree is hit by lightning it may be severely blown apart or
may only produce a spiraling dead area on the trunk. The installation of a lightning protection
system in your valuable trees will prevent this destruction by harmlessly conducting the electrical
charge to the ground and bypassing the tree itself.
Tree Selection: Certain tree species characteristically have weak wood and should not be considered
for landscape situations. Although every tree has its place, quality landscapes should generally avoid
weak-wooded trees like silver maple, Siberian elm, willows, catalpas, and poplars.
Cavity Filling: An open cavity in a tree's trunk is a weak point in its structural support system.
Think of such a tree as a tube with a hole in its wall. This kind of tube can't support as much weight as
an intact tube.
A cavity filling does not provide structural support, but rather a flat surface for callus tissue to grow
over. Eventually, the continuity of the tree trunk is re-established and the trunk is better able to
support the weight of its canopy. Fertilization helps promote the callusing process. A tree with strong,
healthy wood is more likely to survive a destructive storm.