Storm Damage: Wait and See - Tree Planting and Care

2. Wait and See

If a valuable tree appears to be a borderline case, resist the temptation to cut it down. It may be best to stand back and think it over in such cases. Remember that time is on your side. After carefully pruning broken branches, give the tree time to recover. A final decision can be made later. Here are some examples.

On the Fence

A mature shade tree can usually survive the loss of one major limb. Prune the broken branch back to the trunk. In the following months, monitor large wounds closely for signs of decay. Learn how to repair and prevent future damage.

Mature tree with large branch broken

Easy Does It

Resist the temptation to prune too heavily. Remember, the tree will need all the foliage it can produce to make it through the next growing season. Remove only the damaged limbs—wait and see what happens. Learn how to repair and prevent future damage

graphic: Tree with minor damage

Hold Off

A healthy mature tree can recover even when several major limbs are damaged. With large trees, bring in a professional arborist external linkto assess the damage on a borderline situation and to safely accomplish needed pruning and branch removal.

graphic: showing damage tree with several major limbs broken

Don't Try to Do It All Alone

Some of your trees may have damage that's too close to call or may have hidden damage. You may need a tree professional to help you decide what to do. Don't hire anyone who shows up at your door following a storm. Look for qualified arborists external link or contact your city forester.

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