The aftermath of a natural disaster can be a costly affair. Even with a near miss, repairs to fences, roof shingles, and landscapes can quickly add up. In these instances, saving money on the removal of broken tree limbs may be tempting. The long term effects of improper pruning, however, often end up costing far more than bargained for.

To understand why, here’s a quick tutorial on tree biology:

All trees have a natural mechanism by which they prevent the entry of disease and decay. The system, researched by scientist Alex Shigo, is termed Compartmentalization of Decay in Trees (CODIT.) Sounds overwhelming? It is pretty complex biology, but here’s the process in simplified terms: In a natural setting, a broken tree limb will seperate from the main tree at the point where the branch meets the trunk, an important area called the branch bark collar. Specialized cells in this collar will grow to callous over the wound. The wound doesn’t truly ‘heal’ as we would after an injury, but is is walled off from the rest of the tree to prevent the spread of decay.

And this is precisely why proper restoration pruning by a Certified Arborist is so incredibly important. If an untrained worked makes one wrong cut, either trimming too far from the branch bark collar or too close to the trunk removing it altogether, those specialized cells either don’t respond or are cut off. This one wrong cut will prevent the tree from ever callousing over the wound. And an open hole into the heartwood of a tree will inevitably lead to trunk decay. As even a non-professional can easily surmise, a large rotten tree is highly dangerous and should be removed.

Yet tree limbs broken in a storm do not have to result in complete tree loss! Proper restorative pruning to a damaged canopy can allow healthy trees to recover while protecting your investment in your outdoor landscape. While it may be tempting to save a few dollars on tree work in the aftermath of a storm, a small increased cost up front may result in significant savings down the road.

If you have a tree in need of repair or questions concerning proper pruning, please contact O.A.K. Services today!

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