Storm Recovery - Trees

In the Wake of a Storm

In the aftermath of a major storm, it's important for homeowners to assess damage and provide needed care for their trees, according to the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation.

And in this case, patience is truly a virtue when dealing with storm-damaged trees.

"Trees are amazingly resilient and many recover over time with proper care," said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, America's largest organization dedicated to planting and caring for trees. "The urge to do something immediately is strong, but people should try to be patient. As long as there isn't an immediate physical risk from a damaged tree, many times it's best to keep the tree for now and determine the course of action later."

If a tree is not a hazard, take some time to make sure it gets the care it needs. In this case, Harris said, it's OK to wait a few weeks or months before a final decision is made on the fate of the tree.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, a good rule of thumb on whether a tree can survive is it must still have at least 50 percent of its crown (branches and leaves). A tree with less than half of its branches remaining may not be able to produce enough foliage to nourish the tree another season.

If a tree requires immediate attention, the Arbor Day Foundation recommends hiring a qualified arborist. Arborists are recommended for work off the ground, if a tree is leaning against wires, structures or other trees, if utility lines or structures are endangered or if a chainsaw is needed.

Qualified arborists can be found under the "Tree Service" section of most telephone directories. To find an arborist that is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, go to:

"It's vital to make wise decisions about your trees because they will have long-term consequences," Harris said. "Don't be pressured by people knocking on your door with chainsaws offering to remove or repair your trees. Most of these door-to-door workers have no training and are looking to make a quick buck. It's best to use a qualified arborist."