What To Do If A Storm Damaged Your Tree

Doug Bedford October 2, 2022

The weather is changing, so more storms are coming in certain parts of the nation as we transition toward winter. Each year storms impact homeowners knocking down trees and ruining yards from damage and debris everywhere as they move across the states. Most of the time, these trees were weakened or damaged by storms. Though less devastating than injury or death, fallen trees and limbs can also damage (or even destroy) homes and property.

At Red’s Tree Service, we understand the importance of protecting your home from inclement weather conditions. With a little knowledge from some experts and preparation, we can help you get through storm season and beyond with these tips. Here’s what to do if a storm damages your tree. 

Determining The Severity of Tree Damage

The first thing a homeowner should look at is how badly the trees have been damaged by the storm. Some trees that survive a storm could be salvageable. Understanding the difference in tree damage is important as it could save repair costs. Most damage to a property following a storm is the result of trees. Of course, there are varying degrees of damage that can occur. To simplify it, we’ve grouped it into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe.

Mild Tree Damage

Mild or minimal damage to a tree following a storm would be the loss of some limbs, none being big enough that it posed a major concern. You might have some broken branches or torn bark as well. Overall, the tree is structurally intact.

Moderate Tree Damage

We would probably think of moderate tree damage after a storm as the loss of some significant limbs, which may now have made the tree unstable. You might also have a limb hanging that could pose a future risk. Perhaps no major damage has occurred yet, but you’re worried about it. It may be questionable whether the tree is still structurally sound.

Severe Tree Damage

Of course, severe damage would definitely include a tree that has been uprooted and already fallen—or even a tree that is leaning and seems incredibly risky. A huge limb that’s crashed through a structure would also be severe damage.

Is Storm Damage to Trees Covered by Insurance?

This is one of the most common questions from homeowners. While the answer can vary depending on your insurance company, we generally find that if the tree falls on a structure, insurance will probably cover it. That can include a fence, a pool, a shed, a garage, or a house. However, if the tree falls into the street or does damage to your yard or something else on your property that is not a structure (such as a car), insurance is more than likely not going to cover the cost.

Regarding limbs that are hanging, unfortunately, insurance will probably not cover the removal of a limb that is hanging and has the potential to cause damage (but hasn’t yet). Insurance is generally only going to cover damage that’s already happened.

Repairing Storm Damage to Trees

The exact way to address a damaged tree really comes down to how severe the damage is. Storms can cause damage in many different ways. Some of the signs to look for in a storm-damaged tree include cracks in the tree trunk or the limbs, a significant root injury (like a big gash), broken or hanging limbs, or leaning trees. 

What To Do If A Storm Damaged Your Tree

Sometimes, repairing storm damage to trees can be addressed simply by removing the damaged limb (or limbs). This would mean cutting back to the next lateral or to the trunk of the tree if necessary. Pruning any small, broken branches is also important. Disease and pests can begin to infest a tree with open “wounds.” Proper pruning will help the tree to heal faster.

Unfortunately, when large limbs get ripped from a tree, they don’t break off in a way that is conducive to healing, so the tree may require a lot of care. Large limbs can break away and even tear some of the trunks off with them. This will leave scars that you may need to have cared for years to ensure the tree does not succumb to disease or decay.

Of course, your tree must be thoroughly assessed to determine whether a more serious course of action is warranted when it comes to moderate or severe damage. Hazards are not always obvious to the untrained eye. That’s why it’s important to have a professional closely inspect your tree. Sometimes, tree removal is the best option in order to prevent a future fall. And if a tree has already fallen, then removal is the only option left.

How Much Does Tree Pruning or Removal Cost?

The cost to prune or remove a tree is largely based on its size. The average starting cost to prune a small tree is going to be somewhere in the $400 range. As you get into larger trees, such as a mature oak that might be 80-foot tall, that cost is going to rise. Pruning a large tree would likely start around the $800 to $1,000+ range.

How Can I Protect My Existing Trees from Future Damage?

While there is no 100-percent guaranteed way to protect trees from storms, there are definitely some steps you can take to make them less prone to damage. For one, a thorough assessment of the trees on your property will point out which trees might be at the greatest risk for damage during a storm. Certain trees may be more likely to fall during a storm if they have one of the following problems:

  • Deadwood
  • Decaying areas
  • Problems with the roots
  • Cracks
  • Weak or hanging limbs

Routine maintenance of your tree, which includes addressing any issues that may be found, will go a long way in protecting it. This might include a task like thinning out the canopy to let the wind go “through” the tree instead of hitting it like a wall during a storm. It would also include removing dead or damaged limbs, pruning, and potentially even installing cabling and bracing if it’s determined your tree could benefit from this service.

What To Do If A Storm Damaged Your Tree

Protect Your Home With Red’s Tree Service

Here at Red’s Tree Service, we know storm damage is frequent, especially in the Mid-South. Heavy rains, wind and lightning can knock trees over into your house or your power lines or, at the very least, cause tree limbs to be strewn across your yard. Our family-owned and operated business have been providing quality tree services for over 40 years. If you are interested in protecting your home, please call us. Our team of trained professionals is ready to help you with all your needs.