If A Dead Tree Falls In The Forest…

The city of Casper estimated that tens of thousands of trees died because of the record-breaking freeze that occurred on November 13, 2014. Elm trees appeared to have suffered the worst, but many other species of trees were also severely damaged. Thousands of these damaged trees are still standing throughout the city and now is the time to decide what should be done with them. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

Earlier this fall, I spent a few days studying the issue of damaged trees, under the tutelage of Jeremy Barrel, an internationally recognized expert on the subject. Jeremy has spent much of his adult life studying and preserving damaged trees. He has worked with multiple groups to protect the oldest tree in England and has also worked to keep high value trees in Thailand from being damaged on a construction site. During my week with him, Mr. Barrel took myself and others to a 100-year-old estate in Sheridan, WY where we studied and analyzed a variety of damaged trees. My goal in analyzing these trees was to come up with a solution to deal with damaged trees in such a way as to continue their life cycle for another 20-25 years. After spending the week immersed in scientific case studies, I have good news to report!

It is possible to preserve the damaged trees of Casper, and the Rodolph Brothers have now begun to do so successfully.

We examined dozens of case studies that focused on trees that were damaged just as severely as the trees in Casper. These trees were successfully pruned and treated in a way that will preserve them for another 50 years. The lesson to be learned from this is that pruning damaged trees properly can mitigate risk and conserve large portions of said tree. This will help the tree regain foliage and, ideally, once again become the beautiful specimen that it once was. There are a number of viable techniques to achieve the desired result, none of which are better or worse than the other but the point is this- the damaged trees of Casper will be able to continue to live if they are given just a little bit of professional attention.

As I work throughout the city, I see that there are still a great many damaged trees here in Casper that have not been pruned effectively or even cut down. When I see this, a multitude of thoughts run through my head, such as:

– “Are people waiting for these trees to just heal and come back to life?”
– “Do people think their tree is too difficult to access and to work on safely?”
– “Is nothing being done simply because people think the cost is too high?”
– “Or maybe, just maybe, do people simply refuse to give up hope on a once beautiful tree?”

My biggest thought, really, is simply this- why is your damaged tree still standing?

Well, as the old saying goes, inaction is an action so now is the time to do something about your tree because you cannot afford the risk of your tree or even part of your tree falling down and hurting something or, even worse, someone.

We can help.

The damaged portions of the trees that haven’t been able to grow for 2 full seasons now are NEVER going to grow. Most damaged trees have utilized some incredible biological tools to wall off those dead branches, instead concentrating their energy on the viable growth elsewhere in the canopy. However, those damaged sections that have begun to decay will fail soon if you do not remove them.

The solution is this:

Remove all portions of the dead branch from the tree and analyze what is left to ensure that the tree itself will not fail. At Rodolph Brothers, we are often removing over half of the structure of the tree and up to 70% of its canopy. Admittedly, this sort of pruning is never recommended on a healthy tree, but in the case of a damaged tree, this course of action can save its life. The damaged tree will regrow over the next few years and eventually you won’t even be able to notice that its size was so drastically diminished. Your tree will be much smaller, but it will still be a viable tree. This is a win/win for all parties involved; most especially the tree.

In conclusion, pruning a tree is a lot like making a New Year’s Resolution and sticking to it- you are getting rid of the bad, even if it takes some time and energy, to make room for even more good. Your tree, just like yourself, wants to grow, wants to live life to the fullest, wants to radiate beauty, inside and out. As you spend the next year continuing to develop into the person that you want to become, please take some time to properly prune and maintain your trees. Feel free to give us a call to schedule a consultation, because at Rodolph Brothers, we are constantly doing what we love, and we want to make sure that, when it comes to your trees, you love them too.

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