How to fix a storm damaged tree

We’re quite used to a storm or two in Scotland. Lucky for us when the weather is bad we’re safely tucked away at home while our trees are at the mercy of gale-force winds and lightning strikes.

If you have a mature tree, it certainly pays to preempt storm damage by having a tree surgeon take a look, especially if the tree is near property or in a public space. We do what we can to identify and protect trees from storm damage but nature can be a cruel mistress.

Repairing a storm damaged tree

Before we start looking at how to repair a storm damaged tree, let’s talk about safety.

If the storm has left branches hanging from the tree or if there are power lines down, call a tree surgeon and get an emergency consultation. This is a matter of life or death, a professional arborist has experience with these situations, let them control the risk.

So where do you start with repairing a storm damaged tree?

Inspecting a storm damaged tree

Once the storm has passed, you need to check (if safe to do so) the following areas:

  • Are there any hanging branches?
  • Can you see any splits in the branches?
  • Is the canopy damaged (the top of the tree)?
  • Can you see any holes in the tree trunk?
  • Is there unearthed soil or visible roots by the base of the tree?
  • Is the tree leaning?

If any of the above are noticeable, we suggest you get in touch with a tree surgeon. As the tree or branches could fall at any point, you and anyone else near the tree could be put in danger. An experienced tree surgeon will clean up any debris, prune the tree to remove any damage and in the worse-case scenario, they may have to remove the tree.

What to do when branches break off a tree?

The best-case scenario would be only small, broken branches need removing. You can perform this yourself, but take care not to leave an opening in the tree that will allow pests to enter the tree. Following storm damage your tree needs extra strength to heal, an invasion will only add to its problem.

In some circumstances its possible to wrap a branch, allowing the wood to fuse. If the branch is held on by bark alone, it’s already too late. Likewise, if the wound has dried out, it may be best to cut off the branch so a new one can fill its place.

For large branches, we always recommend using a specialist. A professional tree surgeon will have a range of options at their disposal and furthermore, have the necessary insurance and expertise to carry out the work safely.

Felling Tree Solutions Scotland East Lothian

Can you save a split tree?

Split trees are more difficult to fix after a storm has damaged them.

If it’s just a minor split on a branch with nothing hanging or posing a threat to people or places, then just leave it to heal on its own.

A more severe wound that is still connected to an unharmed branch may require some treatment such as splinting or removing some of the bark to help the healing process. If it could become a threat and bring down a larger branch, then do not hesitate to contact a tree surgeon. It’s quite likely they’ll be able to make a successful repair.

Big splits in a trunk or on larger branches are far more difficult, again, the key message is safety. Each problem is different so, this one should be managed by a tree working professional.

Split Tree Storm Damaged Tree Repair Work

What to do if the top of the tree broke off

The top of a tree is fundamental to the wellbeing of the plant. Whatever you do, don’t top the tree, even if the canopy has broken off. It will leave the tree unstable and at risk of infestation. If over 50% of the tree canopy has come off, then it will most likely need to be removed. If below 50%, there’s a chance your local tree surgeon can save your storm damaged tree.

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