The tree’s natural born enemy is the wind storm. When a hurricane blows, or tornado touches down, some of your trees will become casualties. To what extent they are salvageable depends on the tree damage done. Some tree damage is minor and the tree will bounce back right away. Some is major, and is tree damage that leads to certain tree death.
Minor Tree Damage – And Definitely Recoverable
If the damaged tree merely loses a few minor branches, then all will be well. You may need to clean up the break points if there are torn limbs, but otherwise the tree will bounce back given a little time. Even a mature shade tree can withstand the loss of a major limb. Prune the broken limb back to the trunk. Monitor for decay at the cut, but otherwise time will most likely heal the wound of this damaged tree. Saplings can withstand a lot of damage and bounce right back. They may need to be staked if the wind storm loosened their root system, but that should be all you need to worry about with saplings.
Major Tree Damage – Often Recoverable
Major tree damage that can lead to a tough road for recovery would be if the tree is now at a tilt because the wind storm literally blew the tree to an angle. The roots may end up recovering, but the roots may also have sustained damage. Wait and see…
If the tree damage has multiple major limb breakage, the best you can do is cut back the torn branches and remove the damaged limbs. Again, give the damaged tree a full cycle of seasons to see how it recovers. By this time next year the outcome will be plain whether the tree survived the tree damage or if it failed. Remove tree at this point, if it has not succeeded to recover.
Dead Tree Standing – Remove Tree
If the hurricane or tornado has ripped off 50% or more of the crown of the tree, or if the tree is split down the trunk, then this is an unrecoverable situation in almost all circumstances. “Repair tree” options are out the window here – these are “remove tree” situations. Go ahead and remove a tree suffering these kinds of damage as soon as you can, and know that there was nothing else you could have done.
Let Southeast Texas Trees certified arborists evaluate your damaged tree to ascertain the extent of the tree damage and whether or not recovery is likely. It may be that the tree was susceptible to damage duw to an underlying disease or malformation, and an arborist is in a position to identify if the tree will be simply battling windstorm recovery or if other dynamic would preclude survival, saving you time and allowing you to remove tree and replace it sooner.