ENH 105 Evaluating and Treating Landscape Trees Following a Hurricane 1 Edward F. Gilman 2 1. This document is Fact Sheet ENH 105, one in a series of the Environmental Horcticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: February 2000. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu. 2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, plant environment, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/University of Florida/Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean. The damage to trees other than palms (pines and broadleaf trees) can be difficult to evaluate. Damage which is easy to see includes defoliation, broken branches, split branch crotches and trunks, and leaning trees. Defoliated trees that were healthy before the storm often leaf out quickly following a hurricane. If this is the only damage to the tree, no special treatment is required. There is no need to apply fertilizer or other chemicals. Time is the best treatment for this type of damage. Broken branches should be pruned back to an existing, intact, undamaged branch. This technique, called drop crotching, is less damaging to the tree than topping. Pruning paint is not needed and will do nothing for the tree. If there is a crack or split evident where a major limb meets the trunk and the crack goes into the trunk, it is best to remove the limb. If the branch is very large and the crack extends well into the trunk, consideration should be given to removing the tree. Limbs with this type of damage are not well secured to the tree and this damage does not heal itself. The limb could easily fall from the tree in a subsequent thunderstorm. Small-sized leaning trees can be righted and staked as you would stake a transplanted tree. Treat this tree as if it were transplanted -water it frequently. If the tree is not too large and the area receives adequate rainfall in the next several months, the tree has a good chance of recovering. Less obvious damage includes cracks or splits in the trunk or major limbs and breakage of the root system. Trees with cracks in the trunk and/or branches are very dangerous, and serious consideration should be given to removing the tree. These cracks will not heal and will remain in the tree for the life of the tree. If there is any question as to the safety and health of a tree that is close to a building, school yard, parking lot or other place where people live, work or play, consult a professional arborist. They are the only people who are qualified to evaluate the severity of this type of damage.