During spring and summer months, violent, windy storms often cause a need for storm clean up in Wilmington, DE and surrounding areas. Residents often wonder why some trees are affected even though they seem strong and sturdy. As Certified Arborists with Stein Tree Service, we know that many of these trees have been weakened in response to injuries or environmental impacts.
Tree response is a reaction to stimuli in a tree’s environment. The tree’s response to having proper water, sunlight and nutrients will be to grow strong. The lack of any of these necessary components will cause the tree to respond in a different way. However tree response is much more complex; many factors force a response from trees and shape how they will grow.
In addition to the aforementioned factors, wind and branch loading will cause a tree response. This response is the tree’s way of adapting and being able to handle the environmental conditions. Pennsylvania and Delaware have windy seasons in spring and summer that are pretty consistent. Thus the trees in our area have to learn to grow in a way that allows them to survive those conditions. However, some trees react differently than others. For example, in a grove of trees, some trees play different roles than other trees. The trees on the outside will bear the brunt of the wind and elements, while the close-growing trees on the inside are shielded from some of the wind and from sun and water.
The trees on the outside necessarily become stronger, growing thicker and more substantial trunks and branches, while the trees on the inside grow taller and more willowy. They provide resistance to wind blowing through the grove, but the lack of strong wind means that they will lack the need to “respond” by growing thicker. This response is also appropriate because they need to grow taller to reach sunlight and they are constrained within a smaller space. Understanding this response helps certified arborists when asked by homeowners to thin out the grove. Unknowledgeable persons could accidentally remove the trees that are strong enough to withstand the elements alone and leave trees that could be too unwieldy to survive a strong windy seasons. When strong storms come, these trees are the ones that are uprooted and cause the need for extensive storm clean up and property repair in Wilmington and other local areas.
Tree loading is the way the branches grow; branches naturally have downward loading due to gravity and their own weight. Over time, when snow and ice seasonally land on tree branches and remain for a time until they melt, a young tree responds by forming hardier branches that can bear the weight.
Improper pruning limits a tree’s ability to develop proper loading, causing branches to be longer and more tapered, which limits their strength and makes them susceptible to damage by wind, precipitation or other injury.
Trees respond to wounding in a way that is similar to our bodies’ defense. They expend energy to send chemicals to the wound site to help form a protective barrier. Depending on the type of wound, growth may be seen forming around the sides to shore up the branch or trunk strength around the damaged area.
Since the tree tries to close up or cover the wound, weak areas caused by fungus or improper growth may be hidden, which can lead to surprising damage or destruction when the tree is exposed to harsh conditions.
Homeowners should inspect trees regularly and pay special attention to trees that have been injured. An arborist or other tree care specialist can determine if the tree has regained or retained its strength after healing over a wound. He/she can also look for problems such as pest infestation or disease, which could cause the tree to deteriorate and even lead to tree death.
Stein Tree Service has been providing excellent tree care in Delaware and Pennsylvania for over 33 years. We are the oldest independently owned company in Delaware, and we are passionate about trees! For residential or commercial tree care or storm clean up in Wilmington and the surrounding areas, contact Stein Tree today. We have a TreeFall program that can help protect you in the event of storm damage.
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