The Winter of Your Tree’s Lifetime

Mar 24, 2014

We have all felt the wrath of this winter in more ways than one.  All of us have experienced something on the list of frozen pipes, blown tires from potholes, strained backs from shoveling snow, loss days of productivity and income from work, and damage to your valuable landscape assets.  Trees and shrubs this winter have experienced one of the harshest winters in recent memory.  

Many of you have seen the damage that is widespread throughout our region.  Trees with downed limbs, broken tops, uprooted entirely and sometimes fallen on homes are in all of our neighborhoods.  Despite the damage, trees are very adaptable and in many of the cases will survive.  However, there are many arboricultural needs your trees have to give them the best chance for long term survival. 

Safety to your home and property is ultimately the first concern and therefore it should be a priority for everyone to have a certified and experienced arborist evaluate your trees prior to spring to make sure that your trees are safe.  An experienced trained arborist can inspect your trees for defects that may not be obvious to the untrained eye.  Trees that have suffered broken limbs or damage may have other problems that you may not notice and trees without obvious damage may now be defective posing a serious safety hazard.

Trees will also need to be correctively pruned following damage to ensure that wounds seal properly in a process called compartmentalization of decay.  When trees lose large limbs or neighboring trees are lost environmental dynamics are changed and the tree may feel new stresses that have not been compensated for by the tree.  Pruning can mitigate the chance of the tree experiencing new damage in future storms.

Preventative pruning may be necessary as the tree grows throughout its lifetime and a trained arborist will be able to determine the best course of action in developing a plan for your landscape.  Preventative pruning and maintenance invested in your trees can save you a lot of money in the long term.  Storm damage clean up, reactive pruning, and removal of trees can be costly, in addition, losing a valuable landscape asset can impact your property value, aesthetic value, and personal value that the tree may give to you and your home.  

Damage and broken trees will also be more susceptible to insect and disease, further shortening a tree’s lifespan.  If a large portion of a tree’s canopy is lost the tree will have a reduce capacity of making and storing energy.  This will make the tree less resistant to drought, insect, and disease.  An arborist with a strong background in plant health care will know what different trees are susceptible to and be able to design a preventative plant health care program to ensure the longevity of your trees.

To learn more about proper tree care and how to hire an arborist visit the International Society of Arboriculture’s website at  Also, when hiring an arborist be sure that the company they work for is as experienced as the arborist giving you the consultation.  TCIA, Tree Care Industry Association, has an accreditation process that gives you assurance that the tree care company that you hire is a top notch company that will have you and your trees best interest in mind.  You can visit their website to search for accredited tree care companies at

Jason C. Gaskill is a certified arborist and a qualified tree risk assessor with the Davey Tree Expert Company.


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