Major storms can inflict severe damage to a community’s tree canopy in a short period of time. But with every storm, some trees survive with only minor damage.
There is a way to reduce tree damage during a storm. Home and property owners can take preventative measures long before a storm hits to help their trees grow stronger and become more resistant to damage.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, there are five suggestions for pruning a tree that will promote the growth of strong branches:
- Encourage good branch angles. For most deciduous trees, narrow angles between two branches signal a point of future weakness. A good rule of thumb is many deciduous trees is to keep the angles at 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock.
- Encourage strong branch/trunk size relationship. Ideally, lateral branches should be no more than ½ to ¾ the diameter of the trunk.
- Maintain a stable center of gravity. The center of gravity for a tree should be over the trunk. Remove branches on the leaning side and encourage branch growth on the opposite side.
- Remove rubbing branches, suckers, watersprouts and temporary branches.
- Don’t cut branches back to stubs. Long, natural limbs on a tree are strong and can withstand storm-like conditions. If a branch needs to be removed, cut it back to the main branch or to the tree’s trunk.
If your tree is large or you need pruning assistance, find a certified arborist to help. Visit the website of Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture