How to Trim Storm Damaged Trees

Overview

High winds, ice and lightning are some of the elements that can wreak havoc on your trees. Keeping your trees pruned and promptly removing dead and dying branches can help prevent damage to your tree and to your property in case of a storm. However, if your tree has already experienced damage from a storm, you will need to trim away the damaged limbs to help your tree stay strong and healthy. If you have large trees, you may need to call in a specialist rather than attempting to do the trimming yourself, but if you have pruning equipment and a ladder, you can trim your smaller storm-damaged trees.

Step 1

Remove split, dead and broken branches. Ideally, trimming away branches is done in the winter when your tree is dormant, but remove storm-damaged branches immediately if a broken or dead branch may cause further problems by not being removed.

Step 2

Cut the branch you are removing just past the branch collar (a small lip where the branch meets the trunk). Do not cut the branch flush with the trunk.

Step 3

Take three to five years to recover the shape of your severely storm-damaged tree. Do not prune your tree for shape when you trim the dead and damaged limbs. Your tree could develop additional problems if more than 25 percent of its crown is removed in one season.

Tips and Warnings

  • If 30 to 50 percent of your tree's main trunk and main branches have been damaged in a storm, your tree may not survive and you should consider removing the entire tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Pruning saw
  • Ladder
  • Mulch
  • Water

References

  • North Carolina State University: Trees--Storm Damaged
  • Cass County Extention: Repairing Storm Damaged Trees
  • Tree After the Storm: Tree Maintenance After the Storm
Keywords: pruning trees, storm-damaged trees, trimming damaged branches

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She writes fiction, creative non-fiction and essays. McCarty's work has been published in Hip Mama magazine.