Behind-the-Scenes Look at Storm Damage Recovery Work

Tue., Apr. 20, 2021

By Rick Anielski, Arborist

I think we can all say that the storm we experienced back in early December is still weighing heavy on our minds, especially since the damage it caused is still quite evident. The beautiful trails are littered with debris and trees lay broken or completely uprooted. Unfortunately, we have seen quite a few trees that were too far gone for help. There are many, though, that can be saved and have required us to contract out the work due to the scope of the project. However, there are some trees we are able to help recover ourselves. I found such a one in the slow growing Conifer Collection. The fifty foot Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis) was damaged from high winds and heavy snow loading which caused many of the branches to reach their breaking point. It seemed that no part of the tree was spared as there was damage from the base of the tree to almost the very top. We knew about the damage soon after the storm had ended, but we wanted to make sure we properly assessed the damage to all the affected trees. After a lot of work in other collections throughout the Arboretum, I was finally able to make it out to this specific tree. Luckily, I had a nice day for the work. With the sun shining, I was able to finally go aloft and work on giving this tree a second chance.

The first thing I did was climb my way to the top, with my safety gear on of course, and when I went as high as I could go, I was shocked to find that there was a lot more damage than I had expected. It definitely could not be seen from the ground and I knew I had my work cut out for me. The best thing for me to do was just work my way down foot by foot. The branches that had been damaged or broken by the heavy snow were pruned off. By removing the stubs with a proper pruning cut it will allow the tree to callous over and heal. While I was up in the tree, I also took the opportunity to prune out the dead wood.

The job only took about 45 minutes, but it looks so much better now. In time, we will see these wounds heal and the tree will hopefully thrive.

Holden Forests & Gardens envisions a Northeast Ohio where trees, forests and gardens provide maximum ecological and social benefits to the region’s people and communities. With your support, together we can help Northeast Ohio flourish!

One of the most significant things we can do to combat the effects of a changing climate right here in Northeast Ohio is to plant a tree. This spring, Holden Forests & Gardens (HF&G) launched a new initiative called People for Trees™ to make it easier for each of us to get involved with this solution. The initiative aims to plant and care for 15,000 new trees in Northeast Ohio by 2025.

Make a pledge to plant a tree today! Once you pledge, we will provide information and support that will help you to plant and grow your tree. Pledge to plant a tree

To make a general donation to the People for Trees initiative that includes education, community forestry projects and scientific research, please click here.

Rick Anielski



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