Clear up trees after a storm

Although heavy storms, wind and rain can have a big impact on the trees in your garden, it’s nothing that a bit of TLC can’t fix. Our top tips will have you back in good shape in no time!

Firstly, stay safe! Watch out for potential tree hazards and branches that are hanging on loosely, especially near power cables. Keep an eye out for wildlife like birds or bees that may be taking temporary shelter in your garden.

If you’re not a professional, it’s best to call a professional arborist for any major problems with trees in your garden. If you are a pro, ensure you have the proper PPE to protect yourself when doing any work with power tools.

When it comes to tackling your trees – evaluate the damage. Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Other than storm damage, is the tree still relatively healthy?
  • Are major limbs and/or the leader branch remaining?
  • Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown still intact?
  • Are there remaining branches that can form a new branch structure?

If the answer is yes, then the tree can be saved. If not, it’s best to consult a pro!

Once you’ve evaluated what’s gone wrong and changed into suitable clothing, start removing broken branches and jagged remains or limbs. Smaller branches should generally be pruned to the point where they join larger branches, but be careful not to over-prune, even if the tree’s appearance isn’t perfect.

Don’t do it all yourself – if large limbs have broken, a tree is uprooted or branches are touching power lines, you will need a professional. Hanging/overhead branches will require chainsaw work, as well as if the tree has been downed or uprooted – this may also create unnatural tension and pressure points, so certain limbs or even the trunk could have a violent, catapult-like reaction. So watch out!

You have seen first-hand how a storm can wreak havoc outside your home, so make sure you do as much as you can in preparation for when the next one hits.

Find a good arborist/tree surgeon – take the time to pick the right company for you. Maintain a good relationship with your arborist and, when disaster strikes, loyal customers will be their priorities.

There are several things that you can do to help prevent damage. You can do these yourself, or if you don’t feel comfortable with any of the actions, it’s always best to ask an arborist or tree surgeon.

  • Remove dead, diseased or damaged limbs
  • Have leaning trees inspected and consider removing those with large cavities
  • Prune branches very close to your house or over footpaths/driveways
  • Check your gutters, and remove debris to prevent water damage. Many STIHL blowers have optional gutter attachments
  • Call a professional to assess and potentially remove any trees close to power or telephone lines; DO NOT attempt to do this yourself

During the storm, continue to stay safe and indoors. You may love your garden, but it’s not more important than your life or the lives of your loved ones.