This spring a good deal of tree damage will be evident as the snow banks begin to melt. Some of the damage is caused by the crushing weight of the snow and some is mechanical damage. While I would always advise homeowners to seek professional help there are many things you can do on your own.
Let’s begin with limb damage away from the trunk. Snow load can snap a branch to snap between the load and the trunk. This type of damage should be repaired by a clean cut away from the collar of the limb. For safety, always make an undercut ¼ way through then make your top cut 1″ past it. Besides pinching and binding the saw, tree branches under pressure can be dangerous. Always wear eye protection!
The shears should be sharp and clean. The cut end should not be treated with any sealants or tars as the tree will partition any damage off itself. Sealants can actually do more damage to the tree by sealing water and pathogens in and not letting the wound heal.
Repairing limbs that have split away from the trunk can be done by installing a cable from the damaged branch to another branch higher in the crown. This will support the branch for the next phase of the repair and also while the tree heals itself.
The second phase of this repair is to install a threaded stainless-steel rod with bolts at either end and permanently bolt the branch to the trunk. This will be a weak spot in the tree but the hope is that eventually the tree will re-graft the branch to the cambial system of the trunk.
The final step in the repair of winter injury is to properly feed the trees. We use a high-quality, water-soluble fertilizer injected directly into the root zone of the plant. This will give the tree the proper nutrients to repair its wound and become a healthy tree once again.
If you have trees in need of repair please don’t hesitate to call me – we would be happy to come and fix your trees!