COLUMBUS, OH - Residents in the Logan area and surrounding counties are urged to use caution when cleaning up from a recent severe ice storm, which caused saplings to bend, limbs to break, and trees to topple. While the ice has melted, public safety and tree health remains a concern for many communities, say foresters with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
“Accumulations of ice can increase the branch weight of trees by 30 times or more,” says Lisa Bowers, urban forester with the Division of Forestry. “Branch failure occurs when ice loading exceeds wood resistance, especially where internal decay, poor form, and dead braches have weakened the tree.”
Broken limbs overhanging rights-of-way are significant concerns for community officials. These “hangers” should be removed as they may pose a threat to public safety. In most cases, a certified arborist should perform this work.
Whether the damaged tree is on public or private property, the following should be considered:
- Younger trees can withstand more canopy loss than mature trees.
- Corrective pruning to restore tree shape can be done when weather permits.
- Do not to remove more than one fourth of the branches at any one time.
- If canopy loss of a mature tree is greater than 50%, it should be removed.
- Hire a certified arborist who is skilled in corrective pruning.
- This could be an opportunity to plant new trees.
- Some tree species are more resistant to ice storm damage, such as Arborvitae, Baldcypress, Eastern Hemlock, Ginkgo, Kentucky Coffeetree, Swamp White Oak, Sweetgum, Littleleaf Linden, Silver Linden and White Oak.
- To protect trees from storm damage, they should be pruned periodically, possibly every three to five years.
- Never top your trees. Improper pruning such as topping can make your trees more vulnerable to storm damage.
Think safety first, be patient, hire a qualified arborist, and take heart because trees are amazingly resilient. More information about trees and ice damage can be found at ohiodnr.com/forestry/Urban/article.htm