Damaged Trees- Keepem or Cullem?

Jr. Batty  |  9/19/2012 7:07:32 PM

High winds can damage taller trees because they are higher in the air and catch more wind. Photo by Dan Gill

Hanging branches can pose significant risks. Photo by Dan Gill

Young trees can be placed upright and staked so they can re-establish good root systems. Photo by Dan Gill

Lots of questions have come up in relation to our trees with our visit from Hurricane Isaac.

The storm caused broken limbs, stripped bark, leaning, and/or completely uprooted trees. There’s no simple answer to “can my tree be saved?” Many other questions need to be considered before rushing to cut it down.

Consider these questions:

  • Is the tree basically healthy? If you lost some leaves and twigs, originally healthy mature trees will recover. Younger trees require consistent moisture and mulch.
  • Are major limbs broken? Large broken limbs are much harder to be replaced. Smaller branches may replace the large limbs, but the tree will be misshapen for years.
  • Has the main leader been broken out? Some trees will recover with the central section gone. However surviving and thriving is doubtful. At best, you will have a deformed version of the original.
  • Are at least 50% of the branches and leaves still there? This is a rule of thumb guide. A tree with less than half of the leaves left usually cannot nourish itself very long.
  • How big are the wounds of broken limbs and stripped bark? Large wounds are less likely to heal. These wounds can become openings for diseases and decay.
  • Is the tree a desirable species for its location? Poorly located, improperly planted and messy fruiting trees make the decision easier to take them out.

Please visit the Hazards and Threats section of  www.lsuagcenter.com for additional information. webpage. Read more about this subject in the LSU AgCeneter's Hurricane Information Series: Protect Landscapes & Property

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