If you’re a homeowner or own other types of property that has trees, talking about tree damage can be a difficult topic. You’ve invested considerable resources into your property, including your trees, and seeing them damaged is not an ideal situation.
Taking steps to not only avoid damaging trees in the first place but diagnosing tree damage problems is important. Not only do you need to decide whether or not the tree is salvageable, but you may have to determine if a certified arborist needs to bring their tree care expertise to the job.
Types of Tree Damage
Many parts of a tree can get damaged and affect the tree’s health. Some types of damage to watch for include:
- Damaged tree bark – Whether removed by a man-made accident, such as when a vehicle makes impact with a tree, or in a storm following lightning strike, it is essential that tree bark damage is taken seriously, as bark is a barrier for the tree against pests and disease.
- Trunk wounds – Holes and superficial damage can still cause long-lasting problems to trees and should be monitored carefully.
- Damaged tree roots – This can happen especially in construction zones. If this type of damage is not repaired, the lifespan of the tree can be severely shortened or decline.
- Tree limbs, or branches broken or damaged – If severe wind, hail, or lightning impact the limbs of a tree, or some other work done around the tree such work on power lines leads to breakage, limbs and branches may become damaged to the point where removal is necessary.
How Can Trees Get Damaged?
Many things can cause damage to trees and most are not intentional acts. However, it is important to be aware of the ways in which trees can get damaged so you do not unintentionally impact tree health.
Damage From Construction Equipment
Homes and commercial sites have been expanded over the years to include wooded lots that take advantage of the aesthetic and environmental value of that kind of property. According to the International Society of Arboriculture, wooded properties can be worth as much as 20% more than lots without trees.
However, the construction process can damage nearby trees and even be deadly. Digging and trenching can damage roots, the trunk and crown of trees can damage trees aboveground, and other factors like soil compaction can affect the life of the tree.
If you are planning a construction project on a tree covered property, it is always a good idea to contact a certified arborist to help with planning your project. They can meet with you and your builder ahead of time to take a proactive approach that minimizes the damage to trees on the property.
How to Avoid Damaging Trees During Construction
Although not always ideal, from a conservation perspective, it is preferable to build on property clear of trees. When trees are present, however, it truly takes a team of people to carefully lay the groundwork and build around trees in order to avoid harming them.
In order to minimize the damage done to trees on a construction site, the following needs to take place:
- Plan Your Site – Determine with your contractors which trees on the property will stay and which ones need to be removed. This allows you to decide what parts of land need more care and attention when putting in essential utilities and electrical work.
- Time Your Tree Removal – If you determine that trees on the property will be removed or need to be trimmed back to make way for a structure, cut them down during the fall or winter and make sure they do not fall into the trees you wish to save. Felling trees is delicate work, so be sure to be selective!
- Care for Roots – Particular attention needs to be paid to the dripline, which describes the area around a tree where water drips down from the canopy and onto the ground. Doing construction within the dripline can disrupt the tree from getting the nutrients it needs and shorten its lifespan.
- Followup Tree Care – After construction is complete, it is important to monitor how the tree is doing. A certified arborist can assess the tree and make sure it is still in good health.
It might be a property owner’s worst nightmare: a rogue vehicle crashes through your property and does damage. When trees are involved, an impact accident such as a car crashing into a tree can lead to that tree getting knocked askew, uprooted, or damaged beyond repair. Getting an estimate of how to treat the damaged tree is essential to making sure the tree can survive and thrive after an incident.
Inevitably, if there are trees on a property, storm damage is a viable possibility. From severe wind that causes branches to break to lightning impacts, being prepared to care for trees damaged after a storm is essential. Treating trees after storm damage is an important step towards making sure they survive and thrive for years to come.
How to Treat Damaged Trees
Start by determining what kind of damage the tree has suffered and the severity of the problem. Were tree limbs broken? Is the trunk and bark damaged? Answers to these questions can help you decide your strategy.
If the damage is slight, or if the tree is younger, it will more likely heal quickly. Older trees, however, with major damage or exposed bark on the trunk require more attention. Some signs a tree will need to be removed, however, include a tree that only has the trunk left, a split tree, or too much damage to the tree’s leafy crown.