How to Deal with Storm Damaged Trees

2018 Storm DamageMajor storms, such as the recent Nor’easter, reveal the power of Mother Nature and can leave a trail of damage that has a lasting impact on your home and landscape, especially trees. The New England Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (NEC-ISA), based in Norwell, MA, offers some post storm advice to help you and your trees recover from these disasters. Tearing winds and penetrating rain of a Nor’easter work together, softening soils and causing trees to overturn. The failure of part or all of a tree in your landscape may cause significant damage to personal or public property, as well as, utility lines. Tree owners can follow some simple steps to ensure a safe and effect response to tree-related storm damage:

Assess the damages – Evaluate your trees carefully by asking the following questions: Other than the storm damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous? Are major limbs or the main upward-trending branch still remaining? Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown (branches and leaves) still intact? If you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions, there is a good chance for complete recovery. If you the answers are “no”, then the storm may have predisposed your tree to future failures.

Take safety precautions – It is important to consider the potential hazards associated with being around storm damaged trees. Trees may have come in contact with electrical wires, broken and dangling limbs may fall, and trees or limbs under tension from debris can react when debris is removed or when cut. Also, many trees fall after storms due to defects created by the storm.

Resist the urge to do it yourself – If large limbs are broken or hanging, or if ladder or overhead chain saw work is needed, it is a job for a professional arborist.

Hire a professional arborist – Professional arborists should have the proper skills and equipment necessary to safely and efficiently remove or prune severely damaged trees. Consult an ISA Certified Arborist® or one who is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified to assess the damage to your trees. They can help you assess the extent of the damage caused by the storm and help you determine what action should be taken. Hiring a Certified Arborist to assist with post-storm repairs may also help avoid unnecessary loss of your trees.

Beware of price gouging – Sometimes less credible tree services will take advantage of storm victims. Good tree work by qualified professionals is not inexpensive, however, poor work, no matter the price paid, can cost you a great deal. Professional prices should include liability and workman’s compensation insurance, as well as bucket trucks and equipment.

You can learn more about dealing with storm-damaged trees and and find ISA Certified Arborists in your area by visiting

ABOUT NEC-ISA- The New England Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture offers opportunities for the professional development of the region’s certified arborists through educational workshops, training, public service and events. Through these professional activities, we assist our members to enhance their technical proficiencies and stay abreast of technical/scientific developments in the field of arboriculture.

Additionally, we encourage our members to engage with the general public and to share with them the science, art, and research of arboriculture.  For more information, visit our website at