Does a stormy, windy spring have your landscape trees looking more ragged than usual? If so, proper pruning is needed -- not just to ensure the trees look good, but also to ensure their continued health. Damage can leave trees susceptible to insects or disease infection. The following guide can help you ensure this doesn't happen.
Locate dangerous branches
The first task is always to make sure the trees are safe to be around after a storm. Broken branches up in the canopy pose a falling hazard to anyone below. Carefully inspect each tree from a safe angle to see if there are any such "widowmaker" branches hiding up in the canopy. If there are, they need to be removed immediately. Lower branches that you can approach from the side can be safe for you to remove. But higher branches, or those that are difficult to access, should be removed by a professional that has the skills and equipment to do so without injury.
Properly trim away the damage
Broken, split, or otherwise damaged branches need to be trimmed away with a clean cut. Ragged breaks are harder for a tree to heal over, which makes infection more likely. All branches, even ragged stumps, need to be cut back to (but not into) the branch collar. This is the raised collar of wood at the base of a branch. Large branches can be cut back to the trunk, while smaller branches can be cut back to the main branch from which they grow.
Provide support where needed
Sometimes branches or trees are damaged but not completely destroyed. In this case, you may be able to save them. For split trunks or branches, use a long lag bolt to secure the split back together. If the internal tissue is relatively undamaged, the branch or even the trunk will sometimes fuse back together over time. The bolt will become a permanent part of the tree, but with time and healing, wood tissue may cover over it.
Clean up the litter
Finally, clean up all the broken branches and twigs that litter the ground after a storm. Not only are these unsightly, they can also provide nesting grounds for potential insect pests, or they may invite the growth of fungus and other disease organisms. Although a healthy tree isn't likely to be affected by pests in close proximity, one healing from storm damage could be susceptible.
Contact a tree service for more help or visit a site like http://www.schulhofftlc.com.