Storm damage care

This is information provided by Ward Upham at Kansas State University. The information was initially gathered in response to summer storm damage. However, the guidelines apply well to almost all incidents causing tree damage. Note the link at the bottom for even further information.


1. Be safe: Check for downed power lines or hanging branches. Don't venture under the tree

until it is safe. If large limbs are hanging precariously, a certified arborist has the tools, training and knowledge to do the work safely.


2. Cleanup: Remove debris so you don't trip over it.


3. Decide whether it is feasible to save a tree. If the bark has been split so the cambium is

exposed or the main trunk split, the tree probably will not survive and should be removed. If

there are so many broken limbs that the tree’s form is destroyed, replacement is the best option.

Topping, where all the main branches are cut and there are only stubs left, is not a recommended pruning procedure. Though new branches will normally arise from the stubs, they are not as firmly attached as the original branches and more likely to break in subsequent storms. Also, the tree must use a lot of energy to develop new branches, leaving less to fight off diseases and insect attacks. Often, the topped tree's life is shortened.


4. Prune broken branches to the next larger branch or to the trunk. If cutting back to the trunk, do not cut flush with the trunk but rather at the collar area between the branch and the trunk. Cutting flush with the trunk leaves a much larger wound than cutting at the collar and takes longer to heal. Middle‑aged or younger vigorous trees can have up to one‑third of the crown removed and still make a surprisingly swift comeback.


5. Take large limbs off in stages. If you try to take off a large limb in one cut, it will often break

before the cut is finished and strip bark from the tree. Instead, first make a cut about 15 inches

from the trunk. Start from the bottom and cut one‑third of the way up through the limb. Make the second cut from the top down but start 2 inches further away from the trunk than the first. The branch will break away as you make the second cut. The third cut, made at the collar area,

removes the stub that is left. Note: Pruning can be dangerous. Consider hiring a trained arborist

to do major work such as this. Also, a good arborist knows how to prune trees so that storm

breakage is less likely to occur. Preventing damage is better than trying to fix it once it has


The Arbor Day Foundation maintains an excellent Web site that contains detailed

information. The URL is: http://www.arborday.org/media/stormindex.cfm  (WU)


Ward Upham




3027 Throckmorton, Dept. of HFRR

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS 66506



Drowning In Tomatoes? Try Something Different This Year.


If you’re a home gardener about to drowned in tomatoes rolling in off the vines and demanding to be consumed before they go bad, hang on. Here comes a life preserver.

I chop up a small bowlful of fresh very ripe tomatoes, add chopped red onion or scallions, minced garlic, chopped fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil.  I sometimes add Kalamata olives. I make this dish in the morning and let it set on the kitchen table all day. By evening meal time, the flavors have melded nicely, and I serve it over hot cooked spaghetti noodles and top it with fresh grated parmesan for an easy meal on a hot summer day.

other such survival gardening from Off the Grid News