Weather extremes put trees in a tremendous amount of stress, leaving them vulnerable to disease and stunting their growth. It can make the foliage become discolored or wilted and branch dieback can occur. The extreme weather damage also increases the chances of infestation of insects and disease.

To prevent these issues, you will want to help your trees as much as possible after severe weather.

 Storm Damage

  • Prune and remove trees that pose a risk to people or property damage

  • Inspect for root damage

  • Try to smooth out the edges where the bark has been torn away without exposing any more of the inner tree

  • Don’t top the tree- the tree needs all the foliage and resources that it has and cutting off most of its branches will further stunt its growth

  • Staking or guying is appropriate for a short amount of time if it is a minor uprooting of a smaller tree


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  • Apply mulch around trees and shrubs to hold in moisture

  • Monitor pest infestations

  • Water the tree by putting a sprinkler under the tree. Be sure to water the entire root zone beneath the tree canopy. Do not overwater or the tree will drown.

  • Avoid pruning during the drought period

  • Avoid planting or transplanting trees at this time

  • Do not use fast release fertilizer because it will take the water away from the tree


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  • Remove debris that have been deposited over roots

  • Rinse off any mud or salt spray on the base

  • Aerate soil near the tree

  • Apply mulch around area to prevent roots from drying out

  • Continue to check for pests and disease long after floods have receded

  • Prune and remove the damaged areas that need immediate attention after a day or 2 of rest for the tree. Leave the rest for a week or two later when the tree has some time to recover

Snow and Ice

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  • Sweep snow off of branches in upward pattern. Going from the top down can weigh down the bottom branches and cause more breakage.

  • Do not shake trees and shrubs to remove snow

  • It is best to leave the ice on the tree alone until the spring when the ice can melt naturally. It can then be assessed fully for damage.

If you need a chainsaw or ladder to do the pruning, if there are any downed and potentially energized lines in the area of the tree, or if you are wondering if the tree is worth saving, you should call an arborist.