What To Do If Your Tree Gets Blown Over in a Storm

Wed, September 02, 2015 11:16 AM | Danielle Corral

This week severe thunderstorms ran through the valley and, unfortunately, damaged many trees. To the right are pictures emailed to us from a customer whose two year old Palo Verde was uprooted this past weekend. She, rightly, immediately contacted an arborist and posted her situation on our ask the arborist forum. Unfortunately, our volunteer certified arborist assessed that because the trunk had ripped from the roots, the tree was most likely unsalvageable (sorry!).

Young trees are very susceptible to being uprooted from strong winds. Even if you take all the preventative measures for your trees, damage can still occur. While wind helps strengthen a root system (think resistance training for trees), if roots are still developing the strong pulling can prove too much, too soon.

Many trees, however, that blow over in a storm can often be reset back into place if corrective action is taken. The most important thing is to take action within a few hours of the tree being damaged, such as:

  • Cover any exposed roots with soil so the tree doesn’t dry out. Trees can survive laying on its side as long as the roots are intact and don’t dry out.
  • If the tree is small, you can replant it. This means removing the tree completely from the ground, re-digging/shaping the hole, and positioning the tree in it. Next, stake it and make sure the stakes are set in the surrounding undisturbed soil. If the stakes are in the same hole with the roots, they'll likely get pulled over by the tree if it falls again.
  • Large trees can be more difficult to save. If the entire rootball has heaved up or the trunk has detached from the roots (like what happened in the above photos), the tree most likely is unsalvageable. The best thing to do is consult an arborist immediately. You can locate consulting arborists here:  http://www.asca-consultants.org/find/directorySearch.cfm or perform a Google search on “consulting arborist.”  Although they will charge you to come assess the tree, it is less expensive than replacing a tree that can be saved.
  • Post your questions (and photos if possible) on our ask the arborist forum where our certified arborist will answer them.

As you prepare for the next thunderstorm (Thursday?), keep these steps in mind and remember that many trees can be saved if you act quickly!

Resources:

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/askthearborist

http://www.vpaaz.wildapricot.org/STBlog/3482292 

http://www.trivalleycentral.com/trivalley_dispatch/arizona_news/sometimes-trees-uprooted-in-a-monsoon-storm-can-be-reset/article_8b6e8724-27f7-11e4-9d87-001a4bcf887a.html

http://www.asca-consultants.org/find/directorySearch.cfm (find a Consulting Arborist)

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