Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Ten ways to reduce wind damage to (and from) your trees

Help your trees survive strong winds


Trees and wind1. Choose slow-growing trees that are known for wind resistance and strong wood, rather than fast-growing varieties with weak wood.

2. Avoid trees with shallow rooting patterns if you live in an area of frequent high winds.

3. Trees that are planted so they become a small grove as they grow will have more wind resistance than a single specimen. However, do not overcrowd them.

4. Plant small trees close enough to your house to shade the east, west and south walls, and keep taller trees at a distance.

5. Do not add compost or rich soil to the hole where you plant a tree, or the tree's roots may not develop properly.

6. Prune trees to encourage strong growth and good form, starting a couple years after planting. Eliminate:
  • branches that cross or rub
  • branches with weak crotches (less than 45° between branch and trunk)
  • branches that grow toward the center of the tree
  • double leaders (more than one main stem)
  • small branches that clutter the center of the tree

7. Help a young tree grow strong against the wind -- don't stake it tightly, and don't stake it longer than absolutely necessary.

8. Do not injure the trunks, branches, or roots of your trees.

9. Do not give your trees strong nitrogen fertilizer as this often promotes excessive leaf growth. The extra leaf surface can increase wind resistance, collect rain, and make the tree top heavy.

10. Remove mature trees that become hollow, diseased, weakened, one-sided or excessively leaning.

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

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