How to Repair Damaged Oak Trees in Florida

Overview

According to the University of Florida, over 300 species of oak exist worldwide. Nineteen of these are native to Florida. Oaks are a slow-growing species with dense wood that is disease- and insect-resistant. But the oak tree is not immune to all damage. Over time, high winds can break oak limbs and, stress from building near oaks can cause damage at the root level, and scared bark can lead to girdling. But a damaged oak can be repaired and still provide many years of life.

Step 1

Treat wounds to the bark of oak trees by removing the bruised bark around the wound with a sharp knife. Do not cut any deeper than you have to. Cut all the way out to the sound tissue at the ends. Round off the edges of the bark. If the trunk's circumference is not more than 25 percent damaged, the wound will heal over.

Step 2

Remove soil with a shovel at the base of the trunk that chokes out the root system. If some roots are exposed and soil grades away from the trunk in a gentle slope, there is no fill dirt covering and choking the roots. But if the soil is level at the base of the tree, the roots were covered with dirt.

Step 3

Thin branches of the oak tree with damaged roots by removing a third of them so that the tree's water and nutrient intake requirements are reduced to a degree that the damaged roots can handle them.

Step 4

Water the oak tree with damaged roots using a garden hose to maintain an adequate moisture supply at the root level.

Step 5

Scratch a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer into the soil around an oak tree with damaged roots with a cultivating fork to stimulate new root growth.

Step 6

Mulch lightly around an oak tree with damaged roots to hold moisture in. Do not apply mulch in a thick layer. Doing so could smother the root system.

Step 7

Assess if a storm-damaged tree can be saved. If a tree is over 50 percent damaged, it may not be salvageable.

Step 8

Straighten any small, uprooted trees and cover the root system with soil.

Step 9

Prune away any broken branches by sawing off the branch at a 45-degree angle next to the trunk of the tree just outside the fork where the branch meets the trunk. The angle should slope away from the trunk. Carry away wood debris so as not to attract wood borers.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Shovel
  • Pruning saw
  • Garden hose
  • Cultivating fork
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Mulch

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension:Common Oaks of Florida
  • NC State University: Trees: Damage

Who Can Help

  • Iowa State University:Sustainable Urban Landscapes
Keywords: Storm damaged hardwood, Oak Tree Care, timber doctoring

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.