A big tree brought down by a violent windstorm
Violent winds (up to 70 mph) swept through southern Kentucky on the afternoon and evening of January 29, 2008, leaving behind many broken trees and damaged structures. The above photo is a dramatic example of a tree that didn't survive the storm.
This tree is on city property (between the Municipal Building and the Police Department) near Little River in Hopkinsville, KY. I doubt if it was planted by the city. It is probably just a tree that happened to be growing there. I'd be very surprised if it's received any sort of special care or attention over the years.
It appears that the top of this tree broke in the wind, and as it fell, the heavy branches ripped off the branches below it. The tree is beyond salvage.
What can be done to reduce the chances of damage like this?
1. Choose wind-resistant, appropriately-sized species of trees.
2. As the tree grows, practice good pruning techniques. Eliminate the following as they occur:
-- one branch wherever the stem splits into a "Y" that has two equal branches directly across from each other
-- branches that cross over or rub against another branch
-- any side branch that is taller than the main stem of the tree
-- one branch wherever the crotch is weak (narrow).
-- dead or broken branches
3. Keep the crown of the tree symmetrical. Don't allow the tree to become lopsided.
4. Reduce the density of a large tree's crown so it has less wind-resistance (so the wind can blow through the tree.)
5. Keep the tree in good health by controlling insects and disease.
6. Avoid injury to the tree's trunk and roots.
7. Do not cut large branches back to stubs. New branches that shoot out from the stubs will be extremely vulnerable to weather damage due to their weak attachment.