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Storm damaged tree

Unpredictable weather in the Midwest brings wild winds, lightening and fierce rain storms. The aftermath of these storms is often downed trees and damaged homes. While prevention cannot be completely eliminated, there are steps that can be taken to minimize damage.

Following proper pruning practices is the best way to promote strong, healthy tree growth. Healthy trees are less prone to breakage during a storm. Recognizing how a tree grows is vital to correctly pruning the tree. When cutting a branch from a tree it’s important to leave the branch collar intact. The branch collar is the slightly bulging area at the base of the branch, where the branch connects to the rest of the tree. The branch collar heals the wound caused by cutting the branch. Without the branch collar, the tree is susceptible to diseases and insects that can weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to storm damage. For more information on branch collars, click here.

 A pruning practice to avoid is “topping” trees. This is when just the ends of branches are trimmed. Not only does this result in a less attractive tree, it produces weak branches subject to breakage.  Topping is done indiscriminately and does not properly target the branches that do need to be cut to promote healthy tree growth. For more information on tree topping, click here. Tree topping does not recognize the natural growth of a tree and is not practiced by KTS.

Removing “deadwood” from a tree significantly eliminates future storm damage. Deadwood refers to the dead branches that are within the living crown of a tree. This occurs naturally in a trees’ life, but should be maintained and removed for safety reasons and the health of a tree. These branches will eventually fall or prohibit the healthy growth of stronger branches in the tree.  Also, removing branches in the upper portion of the tree that are crossing, rubbing, broken or diseased will reduce future structural problems the tree may encounter. Eliminating these branches allows space for more healthy branches to flourish. The time of year is important to consider when pruning, primarily for Oak and Elm trees.  While many tree varieties respond more favorably to pruning done mid-winter to early spring, there is no significant risk with pruning outside of this time period, for most trees. This is not the case when storm damage has already occurred. Storm damaged branches should be removed as soon as possible. Falling branches can cause injuries and further property damage. In addition, damaged branches are ideal conductors for tree diseases and insects. Keep in mind it’s important to monitor trees annually for maintenance pruning. A thorough inspection of the property guards against future problems. While Chicago may not have wild storms every year, it’s guaranteed one will come eventually! Proper pruning helps prepare the landscape and your home for the inevitable storms that occur.  

Kramer Tree Specialists not only offers trained specialists to prune your trees, we also offer a lightening protection  system for mature trees that are of high value to the owner. Call us today to have your trees inspected by a Certified Arborist. Our pruning practices follow proper industry guidelines to ensure your trees have the best chance of surviving wild weather.

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