Australia is no stranger to hail storms, especially along the east coast where the massive hail storm of 1999 battered Sydney, costing the city $1.7 billion in insurance losses. Homes, vehicles and gardens are all at risk when the heavens decide to rain their icy cricket balls on the earth below.
Trees caught in these storms are often shredded, their limbs broken and their trunks covered with wounds. In 2016, 200,000 pine trees in Kowen Forest, Canberra, were badly damaged by a hailstorm, which left them wounded and at the mercy of fungal spores. This led to them being removed. If your trees are caught in a hail storm, you might need to consider removing them.
Losing Limbs Weakens Trees
Trees rely on their leaves to provide them with the nourishment they need to survive. If a hail storm strips your trees of their branches, those trees will no longer be able to create food via photosynthesis. They may have enough food stored in their roots to help them re-grow lost leaves and branches, but new growth is rapid and weaker as a result.
Although a tree can recover from losing several branches, any new branches grown to replace those that were lost will be much more prone to breaking off in future. If your trees have lost several large branches, you should hire an arborist to assess the risk. It is often better to remove a badly damaged tree before it becomes a danger to you and your property.
Diseases and Pests Attack Injured Trees
Trees that have been wounded in multiple places will struggle to heal the damage, especially if their trunk has lost a substantial amount of bark. Bacterial infection, fungal spores and pests are attracted to wounded trees. Once a tree is infected, it will gradually weaken over time and become unstable as its branches and roots die off.
However, you can help your trees in their recovery by applying fungicide to their wounds to prevent infection. You can also improve their chances of survival by using fertilizer and plenty of water to give them a healing boost in the aftermath of a hail storm. Severely damaged branches also need to be pruned, as they could open the door to infections.
If you decide to remove a tree that has been damaged by hail, make sure that its replacement is planted where it might be better protected by barriers and buildings. Remember also that the taller a tree, the higher the likelihood that it will be significantly damaged if you live in a hail-prone area.
Contact a tree removal service in your area for additional advice.