Landscape Logic: Healing your snow-damaged trees |

Landscape Logic: Healing your snow-damaged trees

Becky Garber
Daily Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Tree broken by heavy early snowfall

Here are some basics you need to know about caring for your trees, having them evaluated and hiring a tree service to deal with the damage.

Broken branches. When branches break in storms, there is no “clean” break like you get with a pruning saw. Breaking limbs often rip and tear along their length and leave part of a branch still attached to the tree. These breaks and tears require corrective pruning to safeguard the health of the tree. If you can stand on the ground and cut or saw the limb, here are some basics:

• Follow the broken branch back nearly to the trunk of the tree.

• Cut the branch near the trunk but outside the branch collar.

• Improperly pruned areas are an open invitation to insects and disease, so making the cut in the right place is important. If you make the cut flush with the trunk, the tree will not be able to callous over the wound to heal naturally. Cut at the branch collar.

• Avoid using wound-treatment products labeled as tree-wound paints, tars or sprays. They are unnecessary. Make a clean cut in the right place, and let the tree do what it does best.

Hangers. These are partially severed branches that are still hanging in the tree – and an accident waiting to happen. They can fall at any time to damage other limbs below or property underneath the tree. They should be a priority. If dealing with “hangers” cannot be done by standing with two feet on the ground, hire a pro.

Besides the damage you see, many branches may have been weakened by cracks that are horizontal – running along the length of the branches. They may not be visible from the ground, but the weakened wood can cause limbs to break in the future. Cracks in big trees with large branches can be a serious hazard. Have trees evaluated as a proactive step against potential damage.

Before the last flakes fell, the phones of tree companies were flooded with callers – and the extent of the damage may mean being on a waiting list for service. Nevertheless, be careful who you hire. Tree work, especially when high up in trees, can be dangerous and requires specially trained technicians.

• Make sure the company has adequate insurance and document it by getting proof of insurance.

• Find out if technicians are certified to do the work.

• Since many municipalities require arborists to be licensed by the city, make sure the company holds the required license where you live.

• Document the claims. Hiring an unlicensed and/or uninsured contractor might create liability issues for you, so verify the claims.

Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970- 409-8945.

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