Charlos Gary | Times

Fallen trees

Small trees that blow over can be secured in an upright position. Medium-age and mature trees on the ground have severe root breakage and in most cases should not be replanted.

1. Protect the trunk from damage when pulling it up.

2. Stake the tree upright. Use lumber that is strong enough to hold the tree erect. Strapping secures the vertical lumber to the trunk, and the stakes are nailed to that. Stakes should be removed within about a year when roots can support the tree.

3. Once the soil begins to dry after the storm, irrigate roots regularly until new roots are well-established.

Broken or cracked branches

 A cracked branch should be removed back to the collar if the storm stripped off less than about 40 percent of the foliage. If more than 40 percent was removed, or if all the foliage was pulled from the same side of the tree, wait until next year to remove the branch. This allows it to contribute to the tree's recovery by supplying sugars from photosynthesis.

A broken branch should be removed by carefully cutting through the portion of the branch still attached. Hold the branch weight so the bark does not peel down the remaining stem. No other action is needed.

How to hire an arborist

Sometimes the needed repairs are too much for the homeowner. Arborists make a career of caring for trees. Here are tips for choosing one:

Have more than one arborist look at the job, and get a written bid specifying work to be done. Ask for and check local references.

Determine if the arborist is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture or the National Arborist Association. Membership does not guarantee quality, but it could be a sign of a more professional arborist.

Ask for certification of personal and property liability insurance and worker’s compensation. Then call the insurance company to make certain the policy is current.

Ask to see proper state and county licenses. Beware of scam artists or fly-by-night operations.

Low price is a poor gauge of a quality arborist. Often, the better ones are more expensive because of more specialized equipment, more professional help and insurance costs.

Source: Dr. Ed Gilman, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the Tampa Bay Times.

Email Newsletters