Tree Triage: How To Know When It Is Time for a Tree To Go

Tree Triage: How To Know When It Is Time for a Tree To Go

Despite our recent sunny, warm conditions in Portland – this time of year is one of the harshest for trees. Weathering winter storms is often the most grueling for our forest friends – so today, we’ll give you a bit of insight on how to perform your own tree triage and when it is best to call in an expert or have an injured tree removed. Whether you share our Portland locale or not, this method of tree triage works well for concerned homeowners anywhere.

Tree Triage – Questions To Ask

Tree triage takes attention to detail. Really consider the following questions for each damaged tree on your property.

  • Is the tree healthy outside of any storm damage?
  • What, if any major limbs are broken? The bigger the broken limb – the more difficult it will be for the tree to recover.
  • What condition is the main upward trending branch (AKA: the leader) in? This is more important for certain species of trees. This will also have an effect on the appearance of the tree. If you are unsure on the condition of the leader – call in an expert.
  • What percentage of the tree’s crown (branches and leaves) are still unscathed? If it is less than 50% the tree may not be able to produce enough foliage to sustain itself.
  • Take a look at the sections where branches have broken or bark has been ripped off and assess how big they are. Large wounds may be too much for the tree to seal off the damage and repair.
  • Are there any strong branches left that may be able to form a new branch structure?
  • How suitable is this species of tree to the area? The less suitable, the harder it will be for the tree to overcome the storm damage.

Write down your answers to the above questions and then assign each one a negative or a positive point according to your evaluation. If you add up the total to find a positive number, chances are strong that this tree can overcome the storm damage. If the total is a negative number, 0, or 1 – call in a tree expert and consider tree removal. If you are unsure or determined to save the tree – always call a certified arborist to evaluate the situation. If a tree is severely damaged it is important to remove it right away as it can cause damage to other plants and trees, or severe injury to people on your property.

We perform tree triage on a weekly basis, and know all the ins and outs of saving damaged trees – as well as when a tree is potentially dangerous and needs to be removed. Call us, or post photos of your weather damaged tree in question, and we are happy to share our expert opinion.

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