When to Restore a Tree After a Hurricane
It may not seem possible, but even after a major storm or hurricane with high winds, many trees can actually be restored. As long as the major limbs are still intact, as well as the trunk and roots, and there is no decaying wood, the tree has a high possibility of surviving. The strong winds that come with a hurricane often cause all the leaves on a tree to be blown off. This is referred to as defoliation of the canopy. However, this doesn't mean the tree has died. In fact, when a canopy is defoliated it is probably still rather healthy.
In this case, all you have to do is wait and be patient. When spring rolls around the next year, new foliage will probably crop up. Another cause of leaf loss occurs when trees are flooded by salt water. Deal with this by irrigating the soil around the tree to get rid of any excess salt. If only small branches are broken or dead, you can usually fix this through some simple pruning.
If you prune properly, the tree will have a high chance of recovery. In trees that are naturally resistant to decay, if only a few major limbs are broken, the tree may be recoverable. A good example of this is live oak. This is a species of tree that is very good at resisting decay. Even with major branch damage, restoration is usually possible. Of course, the younger the tree, the more likely it can be restored. In decay resistant trees, major canopy damage doesn't always pose a problem either. These trees naturally recover well after storms, even with up to 3/4 of their small branches broken or removed. Smaller trees that are leaning or have fallen are good candidates for recovery. But keep in mind that this only applies to trees that have been planted recently or have a trunk diameter smaller than 4in.
These trees can be put back in place or replanted, depending on the situation. For larger trees that you want to recover, contact the professionals. A small tree, however, shouldn't be a problem for the homeowner to reestablish without any outside help. Here’s how to replant a small tree: Keep the roots moist at all times. Excavate the hole to fit the roots well and get rid of any jagged or torn roots. Make the tree as straight as possible and then back fill with soil from the site. Treat the tree as you would a newly planted one, by watering thoroughly. Three gallons per inch of trunk diameter three times a week should be fine. Lastly, stake the tree and adjust the stakes until the tree becomes stable again and can be removed. Cleaning up tree damage and recovering trees on your property doesn’t have to be a major undertaking.
Of course, the difficulty and duration of the job will depend on the severity of the storm damage, but in most cases a large number of trees are able to be recovered and restored to their former glory.