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Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2002

Take action to reduce tree damage from storms

February 21, 2002

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An ice storm like the ones that hit the Midwest recently is a humbling experience for those of us whose homes are surrounded by old, tall trees.

For most of the year, the trees and their advantages get taken for granted. Then an ice storm or wind storm comes along, and it becomes apparent that tree care and maintenance might have prevented at least some fallen limbs, power interruptions, damaged roofs and blocked driveways.

Trees that sustain the most damage during these storms are likely to be those already troubled, even though they leaf out each spring. They may have interior rot or other problems that encourage limbs to break.

An arborist can evaluate tree health and recommend maintenance before the next storm. Routine pruning will keep branches away from the house.

Fast-growing trees, those with large, rounded crowns and those with fine branching are more likely to sustain storm damage. This group includes the silver maple, elm, redbud, Bradford pear, honey locust and green ash.

When selecting trees to plant this spring, keep in mind that some are more resistant to storm damage. These are trees with a conical outline, narrow crown, coarse branching pattern and strong attachment of branches to the main trunk.

Trees better able to resist breaking during a storm include the spruce, Eastern hemlock, ginkgo, ironwood, Kentucky coffee tree, little-leaf linden and white oak.

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