Tips & Tricks

December 2017: Caring For Ice Damaged Trees – Part 5

Winters in West Richland can be hit or miss. This year along, we’ve seen temperatures in December ranging from the low 50 degrees to the high teens. In the seasons we have the bitter cold temps coupled with snow, you’ll want to understand how these temperatures can affect trees and potential damage from ice.

Be sure to use the proper tools for pruning. Use chainsaws only to remove the larger portion of storm-damaged limbs. Use smaller pruning tools that are more easily controlled e.g., hand saws, pruning poles, etc. If branches are beyond your reach, use a pole saw or ladder. Keep pruning tools clean and sharp. Diseases can be spread by tools after you cut an infected plant.

To sterilize pruning tools, clean them in a mixture of one part household bleach to 10-parts water. The key to tree recovery is proper branch stub pruning. Branches which have been pruned correctly will form a large callus to seal the wound. If removing branches, do not cut into the collar that has formed at the base of the branch.

The collar is the raised ring of protective tissue circling the branch and acts as a barrier to further decay. Trimming above the branch collar will result in a wound that closes quickly and completely. Try not to leave a long broken stub as this will prevent the wound from healing quickly and will encourage fungus and insects. Do not prune flush to the main stem as this creates a large hole that will be slow to heal. Cut larger branches using a three-step method (see Figure 2) so the weight of the branch will not cause it to break and tear the bark below the limb. If the job looks too large or dangerous, hire a professional. If the top of the tree was damaged, make repairs by cutting the stem at about a 45-degree angle below the break and just above the first live branch. This will prevent water from entering or pooling in the affected area.

Many hardwoods are specially equipped to recover from damage to the crown. Species like poplar, silver maple and elm often develop epicormic branches in response to lost or damaged branches. Not all species are equally successful at producing these branches. Do not cover wounds with prepared compounds. Trees have their own protection mechanisms that will effectively seal the wound.

When you’re looking for tree maintenance and tree care in West Richland, we should be your first choice. We are some of the only certified arborists in town and we are very good at what we do. Let us explain to you why we’re your best bet to take care of your trees.

December 2017: Caring For Ice Damaged Trees – Part 6

Winters in Benton City can be hit or miss. This year along, we’ve seen temperatures in December ranging from the low 50 degrees to the high teens. In the seasons we have the bitter cold temps couple with snow, you’ll want to understand how these temperatures can affect trees and potential damage from ice.

Repairing Damaged Bark
During ice storms, broken limbs often tear and strip bark. It is important to repair torn bark to avoid the spread of disease and the invasion of insects; it will also improve the tree’s appearance. Use a chisel or sharp knife to smooth ragged edges of the dead bark.

Remove all loose bark to the point where it is firmly attached to the tree. Shape the wound into an ellipse. The rounded ends prevent dieback of the cambium.  Keep the wound as narrow and small as possible to help the tree heal as quickly as possible.

The tops of young conifers are often bent or broken off during ice storms. Corrective pruning can be used for individual trees and in conifer plantations. Corrective pruning in plantations will reduce the negative impact of the broken tops on future timber value. Cut the broken or bent tops just above the first live whorl. This will encourage a branch in the top whorl to become the new leader. Find the best branch and gently bend it upwards. Using a biodegradable rag (i.e., cotton, linen) attach the branch to a pole that is tied to the tree’s trunk. This should straighten the branch and encourage it to become the new leader. In plantations, prune approximately 500 trees per hectare and try to space the pruned trees throughout the plantation.

Severely damaged conifer plantations that are over 15 years old may require cleanup. If the plantation has trees more than 15 centimeters in diameter, you may want to salvage any wood that can be sold. A professional should be called for advice as soon as possible to avoid a decrease in the quality of wood.

When you’re looking for tree maintenance and tree care in Benton City, we should be your first choice. We are some of the only certified arborists in town and we are very good at what we do. Let us explain to you why we’re your best bet to take care of your trees.

December 2017: Caring For Ice Damaged Trees – Part 1

Winters in the Tri-Cities can be hit or miss. This year along, we’ve seen temperatures in December ranging from the low 50 degrees to the high teens. In the seasons we have the bitter cold temps couple with snow, you’ll want to understand how these temperatures can affect trees and potential damage from ice.

Ice storms are fairly common events. Severe ice storms can affect trees, but trees can also be remarkably resilient. Healthy trees that have not suffered major structural damage, such as split trunks and broken crowns, may recover with time. In winter, trees are dormant and further injury by insects and disease is less likely than if the injury occurs during the growing season.

Recovery depends on the health of the tree and the extent of the damage; healthy trees with few damaged branches should recover and in time the crown may even appear normal.

Safety First
Be careful when working near or under any damaged trees. Approach and inspect damaged trees only if it is clearly safe to do so. Branches that appear to be well wedged in the crown can fall without warning at any time, resulting in serious injury and damage to property.

Do not go near any tree close to power lines. Pruning of large branches and stems is difficult and hazardous and should only be carried out by persons trained and experienced in such work.

When you’re looking for tree maintenance and tree care in the Tri-Cities, we should be your first choice. We are some of the only certified arborists in town and we are very good at what we do. Let us explain to you why we’re your best bet to take care of your trees.

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