Will broken branches kill a tree if left to rot? The short answer is that it depends on the extent of the tree damage.
In this post, McDaniel Tree Services, your professional tree trimming in Birmingham, AL, discusses how broken branches affect tree survival and what to do about them.
Tips For Preventing Broken Branches
Realistically, there isn’t much you can do to guarantee that the next big storm won’t damage your tree, including rip off a few branches. However, urban forestry experts do have some advice to help you keep your trees as healthy as possible.
For one thing, these tree care experts recommend taking proactive action. So, here are the top arboriculture tips for your trees and their branches:
- Practice good tree care. Does your tree have enough water and nutrients to keep it healthy? Ensuring a balance improves the plant’s chances of surviving breakage.
- Prune. Taking care of diseased or weak limbs before they come crashing down prevents further damage. Remove broken branches and clean up the wound.
- Support root growth. Ensure healthy roots by aerating the soil and checking they have enough nutrients.
- Protect the trunk. During storm season or a cold snap, wrap burlap around the tree’s trunk for added insulation.
- Shape. Corrective pruning every one to three years reduces clutter. This also removes branches that run together for less chance of breakage.
Repairing Large Branches That Break
Will broken branches kill a tree? The answer is more likely to be “Yes” when it’s a bigger branch that has broken or torn. However, as long as the damage isn’t too extensive, your tree can still recover if you call an arborist in time.
Where possible, the tree expert will try to reattach a partially detached branch. It’s easiest to put it back in place with splints, bolts, or cables before the tree heals the wound.
If there’s no chance of reattaching the branch, the experts will sever any remaining bits. Use clean tools so that you don’t introduce germs, and clean up any jagged edges to help the tree recover more easily.
Conventional wisdom holds that you should seal the wound. However, modern thinking shies away from sealants and suggests that it’s better to let the tree perform its own repairs. You can water the tree and provide nutrients, and that should be enough to support a healthy recovery.
Repairing Small Broken Branches
Has a smaller branch broken? If possible, reattach the limb and tape it in place for a few months to ensure a strong bond.
Has the branch completely detached from the tree? Cut it off cleanly. Smaller branches breaking are normally not a cause for concern unless several break at once or you see insect infestation or disease that could expose the heartwood (this will kill your tree).
Contact Our Tree Care Team for Expert Advice
Will broken branches kill a tree? They shouldn’t if you act quickly and prune, mend, or dispose of tree branches correctly. If you need help in supporting your tree’s recovery, feel free to call McDaniel Tree Services at 205-308-8270.