The last thing you want to do is become the victim of a fallen tree or surrounding hazard because you have deep, personal feelings for Mother Nature. Be sure to keep these four, basic rules in mind before you do anything:
- If the tree looks like it’s going to fall – don’t touch it.
- If it’s tangled in power lines – or appears it may fall into them – don’t touch it.
- If you see a split trunk or large limbs that are hanging from the tree – you can touch it – but be extremely careful depending on the break. Whatever you do – do not climb the tree.
- Keep kids away.
- If it looks like the damaged tree may pose a serious threat to a life-essential structure like your house – call a pro immediately.
It goes without saying that staying safe is the most important thing. While there are many things you can figure out, assess and manage on your own; it’s important to always take safety into consideration and as always – never bite off more than you can chew. Damaged trees can be dangerous.
Wait it out
If you’ve assessed your tree and there isn’t an immediate threat to anyone or anything else’s safety – the best thing you can do is, well – nothing, really. Well, not nothing, but recommend waiting until some of that snow melts away before you decide what action you want to take. It doesn’t mean your tree is safe from major issues, but just doing something in the dead of winter isn’t always what’s best for the tree – and doing certain things can actually cause more harm than good. When it’s time to roll, the two main things you’ll most likely have to concern yourself will be pruning and fertilizing the tree.
Fertilizing the tree will help your tree get the kinds of nutrients it’ll need to heal faster. There are many that you can use – and as we always say here – it’s best to seek a professional’s advice. The wrong fertilizer could actually do more harm than good – so make sure you’re applying the right kind of treatment and it’s always best to ask the pro’s what they’d do. Especially when it comes to more medicinal forms of fertilizers, you’ll find that you’ll be up for making many of the applications yourself; but fertilizers all have consequences and just like if you, yourself were sick – you want to make sure you consult a doctor to get the right prescription.
Pruning is another important action to take – but keep in mind – too much of a good thing can, in fact – be a bad thing. Simply focus on pruning branches that are either dead, broken off completely or at the greatest risk for failure. The most common rookie mistake is pruning too much – or pruning branches that don’t need it – and by doing that you can expose the tree to all sorts of bad things – from insects and pests – to fungus and rot. Even worse in the wintertime – is that you’re rolling into warmer months and into the time of the year where the risk for infection is at it’s highest.
If the damage is really bad – call a pro
Anytime we witness a big storm where there’s plenty of tree damage (see that awful storm New Hampshire endured in 2012, for example) – call a pro. And that’s not just your resident arborist telling you to do that. In fact, most municipalities will encourage you to hire a pro.
Yes, we get it – this is a little redundant – but it can bear repeating enough. Huge damage – especially if the goal is to heal the tree – should really be handled by an expert even if it costs you a little extra. It’s not just an investment in the tree and your landscape, but in your own personal safety.
Arborists undergo rigorous training that ensures they know how to properly maintain trees – and that includes safe pruning, branch removal and the like. Especially in these sorts of severe cases, a good arborist can not only save the tree – but also help it flourish.