Tree Recovery For Homeowners
Assess the Damage and Act Accordingly
If damage is relatively slight, prune any broken branches, repair torn bark or rough edges around wounds, and let the tree begin the process of wound repair.
Although the tree has been damaged, enough strong limbs may remain on a basically healthy tree to make saving it possible.
An Easy Call
A mature shade tree can usually survive the loss of one major limb. The broken branch should be pruned back to the trunk.
Too Young to Die
Young trees recover quickly. If the leader and structure for branching is intact, remove the broken branches so the tree can recover.
Wait and See
If a tree appears to be a borderline case, don't simply cut it down. It's best to give the tree some time. A final decision can be made later.
Easy Does It
Resist the temptation to prune too heavily. The tree will need all the foliage it can produce in order to manufacture the food needed to get through to the next growing season.
A healthy, mature tree can recover even when several major limbs are damaged. A professional arborist should assess damage on a borderline tree to safely remove branches.
Some trees simply can't be saved or are not worth saving. If the tree has already been weakened by disease, if the trunk is split, or more than 50 percent of the crown is gone, the tree has lost its survival edge.
Farewell to a Friend
A rotten inner core in the trunk or structural weakness in branching patterns can cause a split trunk. The wounds are too large to ever mend.
All that's left is the trunk. The few remaining branches can't provide enough foliage to enable the tree to survive through another growing season.
This tree has lost too much of its leafy crown. It probably won't grow enough new branches and leaves to provide nourishment and regain its former beautiful shape.