Resources Category: Education
With the April ice storm clean-up under out belt, Treescape is once again performing tree pruning services in the Peterborough area.
During the ice storm, the weight of the ice on tree branches pulled many slender twigs, poorly attached limbs, and whole trees to the ground. Even healthy trees lost valuable limbs, and the resulting fallout lead to many power outages and a lot of clean-up across the Peterborough area. With the clean-up behind us, Treescape Certified Arborists and tree care professionals across Ontario can resume the process of spring health assessments and corrective pruning.
Why perform damage assessments in the spring?
Following the ice storm, many people performed preliminary damage assessments on their trees by simply observing the amount of woody debris that fell in their yard. Not a bad approach! However, the “first response” of many observers is to focus on the resulting damage the tree may have caused to their property when it fell, not to look up and carefully asses the damage to the tree itself and how it could be corrected. A careful inspection of your tree’s crown for broken branch stumps is advisable to help keep your tree in good health. Here’s why:
Broken branch stumps a vector for decay
Trees grow in two main ways: they add length to the tips of their branches through apical meristem growth; and girth to their trunk, main stems and branches through cambial growth. The latter growth type leads to annual growth rings in wood. It also stimulates the mechanism trees use to seal wounds particularly at branch collars. Remember, trees don’t stretch from the base or swell from the inside; they are additive growth organisms with a vascular system located just under their bark. The circular branch collar wood, which creates a branch union or attachment, grows like a doughnut around the base of all branches. It is the collar wood that transfers the load bearing weight of a branch to the adjacent stem or trunk. The branch collar wood is also responsible for sealing off a branch scar, thus playing a main role in a tree’s effort to compartmentalize decay. But, if a branch snaps at a point away from the attachment, like what happened to many healthy branches during the ice storm, it leaves behind a long branch stump to die and decay. This decay can spread along the length of the dead branch and enter the trunk, weakening the tree and leading to more structural issues (and more clean up costs for you!) down the road.
Arborists can support your tree’s effort in compartmentalizing the decay by removing any broken branch stumps and dead wood. This process leaves behind a clean branch wound, which is gradually sealed-over through the branch collar’s subsequent annual growth. By hiring an arborist to perform professional pruning services following a storm, your tree can seal its wounds more quickly, and can then focus its energy on recovery and new growth, rather than fighting decay.
If cared for by a professional arborist, your trees can thrive and provide you with decades — if not generations — of enjoyment and benefits. Trees are a natural capital investment that accrue over time. They are also versatile organisms that can thankfully bounce back — even after an ice storm. Paying a little bit of money for corrective pruning services in the short term can pay off immensely in the long term. The next time your tree suffers from storm damage or a harsh winter, be sure to perform a careful spring inspection and give your local arborist a call.