Is Your Tree Too Damaged To Save?

Posted on: 25 July 2017

Whether your tree has been through a storm, an illness, a hard winter, or some other trauma, many homeowners wonder whether or not a damaged tree can bounce back and become healthy again, or if the tree needs to be removed. If you have a tree with significant damage, here are some indicators that your tree is at the end of its life. 

1. Large pieces of missing bark.

Deer and rabbits like to eat the bark of trees, especially young trees with tender bark. Unfortunately, this can prematurely end a tree's life if the bark is eaten in excess. The under layer of a tree's bark has the phloem that allows nutrients to travel from the roots to the leaves and back again. When this highway is interrupted, the tree cannot survive. Generally, if bark is missing all the way around a tree, it will certainly die. If the bark is missing in large chunks but some still remains uninterrupted from top to bottom, your tree might survive, but only if the wounds to the bark are small enough for a tree to seal off. 

2. Missing foliage.

One of two missing branches from the crown of your tree will not make much of a difference in most cases. But after a severe storm of disease, your tree could lose significant amounts of leaves. If too many leaves are lost at once, your tree will not have enough leaves to make food from the sun in a process called photosynthesis. After disease or injury, your tree needs as much food as it can get to recover. Too many missing leaves means the tree does not have enough foliage to bounce back to full health. If more than half the crown is missing, it's time to call a tree service for removal

3. Damage to the center leader.

The central leader is the main "trunk" of the tree that continues up into the branches. The central leader is the main path for nutrients, but it also provides the structural stability for the crown and directs the growth of other secondary and tertiary branches. if the central leader is damaged, the tree is opened up to infection and insect infestation that will be able to travel to any part of the tree easily. A good analogy to describe this is that instead of catching an illness by breathing near someone who is already sick, instead the virus or bacteria is injected into a major vein. It;s much more likely you will get sick and have have a serious form of the illness. 

Damage to the central lead can come during a storm when a major branch snaps and cracks down through the trunk. Other sources of damage include topping the tree, which exposes the top of the leader in the crown, or incorrect pruning that exposes too many wounds on the leader. 

4. Splits and chunks.

Trees, no matter what age, will not recover from obviously splits or large chunks that are missing. For example, if a young tree experiences a great force of wind and is bent over in the storm, splitting the trunk horizontally, standing the tree back up again and staking it will not save it. That horizontal split, especially if severe, is a death sentence. Vertical splits, like if a forked tree with two main leaders divides itself in half, will not survive. The splits cannot be bound and healed -- a tree does not heal like a human body. Instead, it "heals" surface wounds to bark and branches by sealing off the area and forming a path around it. When the split or chunk goes too deep, the tree does not have the resources to repair the damage. 

For more information, contact a business such as R. L. Elliott Enterprises, Inc.