"topping" a storm-damaged tree

Asked December 22, 2016, 9:05 PM EST

Dear Expert, I have a birch whose 4" diameter trunk was damaged in the recent ice storm. Undamaged branches are still growing out of the trunk beneath the point of damage. Shall I just cut the trunk off at the point of damage, essentially "topping" the tree)? Is there a pretty good chance it will survive? Jane

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Topping trees usually creates more issues then benefits. It increases opportunity for decay and can potentially weaken the tree over time. However, it seams that nature has made that decision for you. Weather you decide to salvage the tree as a result of the damage depends a lot on how the damage looks. Since i can't see the tree i suggest that you use this great guide from the arbor day foundation to initially asses whether the tree will survive or thrive as a result of the damage. (https://www.arborday.org/media/stormrecovery/)

If you are still unsure, contact an ISA certified consulting arborist to look at the tree's health for you. There is an online directory here: http://pnwisa.org/hire-an-arborist/isa-certified-arborist-directory/