Do Trees Recover From Hail Damage?
Storms can cause major damage to the vegetation and trees around us. With heavy winds and gushing rains, strong winds and rain can sometimes be too much for the plants and trees. Storm damage to trees is especially worse when the storm brings hail along with it. Hail damage is unlike no other because of the hardy ice blocks that are thrown to the ground in the strong winds. In some places, hail can be up to the size of a tennis ball. Not only will tennis ball-size hail damage plants and trees, but it can smash car windows and even break roof tiles.
Do Trees Recover From Hail Damage?
What Kind of Damage Can Hail Do to Trees?
Hail can cause damage to the foliage of all types of trees. Even with mature trees, hail can snap twigs and branches off. When there is wind involved, hail can also strip the bark off of trees. The amount of damage a tree can experience depends on the type of tree and size. Large trees that have thicker foliage, tend to be less vulnerable to excessive damage as it is somewhat protected. However, in the case of undeveloped, young trees, hail will deal a good amount of damage to the branches and bark of the tree. In some cases, hail can cause trees with thinner stumps to break and die.
How Do Trees Respond To Damage From Hail?
What hail damage does to a tree can be similar to giving the tree a light pruning. Pruning is when branches and foliage are removed to give shape and keep the tree healthy. Hail will cause any weaker branches and unhealthier parts to be knocked to the ground, allowing for the healthier and stronger parts to grow. However, this is not always the case. For some trees, it may take a bit longer to recover from hail damage.
Moderate Hail Damage to Trees
Where there are damaged leaves, the tree will discard them. Any open wounds caused by hail will form a callus-like tissue that will cover the area. Trees that have experienced up to 20 percent damage from hail are almost always guaranteed to recover after a bit of time. To estimate how much damage occurred to the tree, look at the foliage and the number of branches that have come off. Also, look at the wounds to the tree’s main stump.
Severe Hail Damage to Trees
Trees that have experienced around 50 percent or more damage from a hailstorm will have a different approach to recovery. However, that is if recovery is even possible. Even though a heavily damaged tree might recover, it may not be the same as it was before. With branches missing, foliage gone, and open areas covered by the callous tissues, the tree has experienced a large amount of damage. Chances are that even a previously healthy tree will not have enough stored energy to fully recover to its original condition.
If the tree is unable to recover and dies, it can become dangerous to you and others. Any dead branches could fall and hurt someone or, depending on the tree, it could one day collapse, resulting in larger damages.
It Just Takes Time!
Seeing the damage to your trees after a hailstorm can be devastating. Of course, we want them to return to their original form, however, it is key to remember that it will take time for the tree to become healthy again. If the tree has no foliage and minimal branches left, do not forget that the most important part of the tree is underground, its roots.
The roots are where the tree stores its energy which is necessary for the regrowth and strengthening of the tree. You can assist the tree in its recovery by removing any damaged, or broken branches and dead leaves. Keep the area watered and do not let the soil go dry. For young or smaller trees that may be vulnerable to heavy winds, it may help to create a stint that assists the tree in standing upright. A tree stint will lessen the chances of it bending in different directions during strong wind and hail storms.
Additional Information: First Aid for Storm-Damaged Trees
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