Storm Damage, Tree Paint and Other Tall Tree Tales

By Phil Berwick
Living Tree Care

I am often asked to look at a tree that’s close to a house, with an owner concerned that it might fall on the house in the event of a storm. Most of the time, when I have inspected and not seen a hazard, I will explain that if their tree has withstood the test of the extent of the storms and sheer winds we’ve had over the last several years in our city, it’s not falling over anytime soon.

There are unscrupulous tree men who will drop a tree at the site of an old crack, some deadwood or some ants. Trees are not being planted at the rate they are being taken out.
I used to kill ants until the Bug Store’s Ken Miller told me how ants are our friends; they clean out decay in a tree wound. If a tree DOES have an old injury, it can have some old fashioned tree surgery performed.

This leads me to the bad rap that tree paint has been given. While most pruning wounds do not need wound dressing, certain species, such as oaks and Elms emit pheromones (scents) from the unpainted wounds and attract disease carrying insects.

Revisiting the tree close to the house, some thinning to reduce ‘wind sail’ perhaps, and keeping the ground rich with organic fertilizer is what this tree doctor orders. If there are certain lateral limbs that show signs of weakness these can be pruned back properly. But tree ‘topping’ causes secondary wood to grow, which will never be as strong as the original primary wood.

Finally for a fun tree fact… There is only one country on the earth, which at the end of the twentieth century had more trees than fewer trees: Israel.

For more information call Phil at 314-961-TREE or visit www.livingtreecare.com.