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Storm Damage to Trees Preventable

Tue, Jun 6th, 2000
Posted in

Monday, June 5, 2000

Always plant the right trees in the right place. Tree species that are naturally suited to the site are best able to withstand storm stress. Shorter trees (less than 30 feet) in windbreaks are better able to survive windstorms than taller elms, ashes, oaks and maples. Regular care by watering and fertilizing produces strong, healthy, trees. Trees that have been pruned to remove defects can withstand straight-line winds stronger than 60 miles an hour. In 1998, Minnesota storm damage surveys revealed that two-thirds of the damage in tree canopies was due to branches and co-dominant leaders that were allowed to develop. Early corrective pruning could have significantly reduced this damage. One-fourth of the total tree failures were related to deep planting problems and stem girdling roots that developed unnoticed due to improper planting.

How to choose the right tree

According to a U of M Dept of Forest Resources survey, trees that survived the severe 1998 Minnesota storms were bur oak, American elm, Japanese tree lilac, crabapple, honey-locust, black walnut, Kentucky coffee tree, and most pines. The following trees were found to be susceptible to storm damage: European mountain ash, red maple, boxelder, little-leaf linden, willow, Amur cherry, green ash, hackberry and silver maple.

Species that commonly have decay problems: American basswood, boxelder, little-leaf linden, silver maple, red oak, gray birch, hackberry, red maple, northern pin oak and willow.

Species with a tendency to form stem-girdling roots include green ash, little-leaf linden, poplar, silver maple, Norway maple and red maple. Good tree maintenance begins with matching the tree to the site, correct planting and proper pruning. For help in choosing the right trees for your landscape the U of MN has developed SULIS, an Internet site just for plant selection. Go to www.sustland.umn.edu. If you don’t have a computer, you can come to the new Extension office at 902 Houston St. NW #3 in Preston. We have an Internet access computer available from 8:00 am to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Your local library may have Internet access available, call for times.

Pinching Chrysanthemums

Tired of straggly, leggy mums? For full, rounded clumps of mums this fall, pinch back your plants at least twice before the fourth of July. After that they need time to develop flower buds for a great fall show.

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