The ice storm that hit Toronto in December 2013 left its undeniable mark on the landscape of the GTA. Everywhere you look, there are damaged trees with limbs and branches strewn about and fractures in the most majestic trees. While most see this as a tragedy to the leafy canopy that the trees created, there are lessons to be learned from the storm.
The storm has created awareness to the trees on our properties. Oftentimes, we take for granted the trees that offer shade, greenery and depth to our yards until damage or complete loss of the tree occurs. Some homeowners fail to even recognize the trees they have on their property and the proper care and maintenance that may be associated. Now, with such focus on the damaged
trees, it is a great time to assess the trees on your property, damaged or undamaged. This is something that should be done at least every 5 years to ensure health, and evaluate risk of property damage should we encounter another drastic weather occurrence. It is always best to call a professional to determine species, care, risks and benefits of the trees on your property.
The ice storm took with it whole trees as well as limbs and branches. One may think that it was the severity of the storm that caused the damage, which is true, but another factor was the brittle older trees that already had damage or were near the end of their life cycle. Pruning offers a certain level of preventative maintenance for your trees. A professional landscaper knows the proper way of determining what needs to be pruned on a tree, as well as the safest way to prune so as not to cause irreversible damage to a tree.
Homeowners that lost or sustained great damage to larger trees such as aged birch or maple, may be eager to replant. The initial response may be to take down the tree and replace with smaller decorative trees to regain the aesthetic landscaping they desire. It is important to take time to first evaluate the damage that was done. Though a tree with large missing boughs may look unsalvageable, the proper care, repair and pruning may bring the tree back to healthy stature over time. For larger, healthy shade trees, this is a great investment of time and energy to recover the mature specimen. If a tree cannot be saved, homeowners should take time to determine the overall effect they want with the new trees including size, spacing and geographic sustainability of the specimen they decide on.
It is difficult to think there was a silver lining to the ice storm but with every tragedy comes a certain opportunity. The ice storm naturally culled out damaged or neglected trees and put a spotlight on the importance of proper tree care. As the clean up begins, so does the chance for new life and a resurgence of the trees we love.