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Assessing storm-damaged trees


In light of the recent tornado in Upshur County, I’m providing just a few tips regarding damaged trees to consider during recovery.

From the Extension Service publication titled “Can These Trees Be Saved?,” a few things to note:

Assess the damage:

  • Other than storm damage, is the tree healthy and vigorous? If it did not suffer major structural damage, it will generally recover if given first aid immediately after the storm.
  • If most of the major branches are gone, the tree may have little chance of surviving.
  • Is at least 50% of the tree’s crown (branches and leaves) still intact? A tree with less than half of its branches remaining may not be able to produce enough foliage to nourish the tree through another season.
  • How big are the wounds where branches have broken or bark has been damaged? A 2- to 3-inch wound on a 12-inch diameter limb will seal over with new bark within a couple of years.

Make a Decision:

  • If damage is slight, you should prune any broken branches, repair torn bark or rough edges around wounds, and let the tree begin the process of wound repair. Young trees can sustain quite a bit of damage and still recover quickly.
  • If a valuable tree appears to be a borderline case, resist the temptation to simply cute the tree down…it may be best to stand back for a while and think it over. After careful pruning of the broken branches, give the tree some time to recover.
  • Some of your trees may have damage that’s too close to call, or they may have hidden damage. It that is the case, you need a tree professional. Look for qualified arborists or contact the Texas Forest Service in Gilmer at 903.402.2560.

To read the entire document, contact Julie York at or call 903.680.8128.


Julie York, M.S.

CEA-Family & Community Health

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Upshur Co.

301 E. Butler St.

Gilmer, TX 75644


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