Severe Summer Storm Aftermath

In mid-June of 2021, many parts of Nebraska received sixty, seventy and eighty mile per hour winds that caused major damage to a variety of trees, especially Bradford pear, elm, cottonwood, river birch and silver maple.  Normally hardy trees were damaged as well; in most cases the ones that had poor branch angles, co-dominant leaders and cracks were especially harmed as well as those planted too deeply.  After the initial cleanup and removal of hangers aka “widow makers”, it’s important to hire an ISA or NAA certified arborist to take care of the stubs, flags and cracked but not dangling limbs.  Here’s how to find one:

Replanting After a Storm – If there is a silver lining following a devastating storm, it’s the opportunity to replant with a sturdy tree that increases the diversity of the plantings on your property and provides shade, amenity and other benefits.  Homeowners often ask for the names of fast growing, non-messy tree species; the hard fact is that there just aren’t any such trees.  The ideal tree is medium to slow growing and meets the specific needs of the property owners.  When looking at the attributes and requirements for replacement trees, it’s important to check size, sun/shade adaptability, disease tolerance and other features of the new tree.

Medium to large sized replacement trees include:

Baldcypress, Black Gum, Catalpa, Chinkapin Oak, Ginkgo, Golden Raintree, Hackberry, Hickory, Honeylocust, Hornbeam, Hophornbeam, Kentucky Coffeetree, Pecan, Red Oak, Sawtooth Oak, Swamp White Oak, Tuliptree, Yellow Buckeye and Yellowwood.

Short replacement trees include:

Crabapple, Hawthorn, Japanese Pagoda Tree, Japanese Tree Lilac, Kousa Dogwood, Paperbark Maple, Pagoda Dogwood, Seven Sons Tree/Flower, Shantung Maple, Trident Maple, White Fringetree,

Corneliancherry Dogwood, Pagoda Dogwood, Redbud, Serviceberry, Witchhazel

Other replanting notes:

*As you consider possible tree species for replanting, check with your local Extension Educator for specific information on adaptability to various parts of Nebraska. 

*Fall is a good time for replanting, after daytime air temperatures routinely drop to the 70’s and 80’s.

*Dig a wide, but not deep planting hole.  As a general rule of thumb, make the hole 3 times as wide as the root mass, but no deeper.

*Remove the pot, then inspect the root system.  It’s common for roots to be girdled in the pot at this time of year.  Take the time to untangle any circling roots before placing soil around them.

*After planting, keep the roots moist, not soggy or dry.  A thorough initial soaking, followed by another a week later is a good approach in most cases.  To check the moisture level in the root system, probe the planting area with a screwdriver or piece of ree-bar.  If it feels moist after probing, wait a couple of days and then re-check.  More trees are killed by overwatering than underwatering.  If the tree is in the lawn sprinkler pattern, be aware that the tree roots are receiving some water from the lawn sprinkler spray pattern.

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