Tree Trimming

How to Preemptively Prevent Storm Damage to Your Trees


winter-storm-tree-damageWinter storms are inevitable; particularly if you live in northeastern Illinois. But just because they’re inevitable doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to limit their destruction.

If you’ve got trees in your yard, they are especially vulnerable to the effects of a serious winter storm. To limit damage to your trees, and indirectly limit damage to the possessions on your property, there are a number of preemptive measures you can take.

Here is how to preemptively prevent storm damage to your trees.

Have Your Trees Pruned

Trees tend to cause most of their damage when their long branches snap off and fall on top of things such as roofs, cars, and even human beings. For this reason, you need to trim down these branches. Trimming them down will greatly decrease their chances of snapping and falling onto unsuspecting aspects of your property.

Also known as pruning, cutting off long, weak branches will not only rid the tree of its weak links, but will actually provide strength to the rest of its body as well.

But pruning a tree is not a simple task. If not done correctly, it can cause more harm than good. You might be better served by calling in a professional Chicago tree service.

Plant Strong Trees (If Possible)

If you’re moving into a newly built home on a fresh property, you can help prevent damage to your trees by planting the strongest trees possible. Whereas some tree species possess weak roots and brittle branches, other tree species are endowed with the exact opposite characteristics.

Oak and sweetgum trees are traditionally stronger than birch, dogwood, and beech trees. For this reason, you should consider planting oaks instead of birches.

While some winter weather is too disastrous for any tree to handle, these hardwood trees will do a better job of resisting its ill effects.

Replenish Your Trees’ Roots

The trees in your yard are only as strong as their roots. Roots are to a tree as a foundation is to a building. For this reason, you want to make sure that they’re as strong as possible at all times.

Regularly water your trees’ roots in the same way that you would water a plant. Apply water around its base and in any area where there may be roots growing. The goal is get water deep into the soil so that the roots gravitate downward instead of sideways.

Doing this will make your trees stronger, and will lessen the chance that they suffer damage at the hands of a storm.

Get Your Trees Inspected

What’s that old saying? Know thy enemy? Well, while your trees aren’t exactly your enemies, they can certainly work against you when met with the effects of a winter storm. For this reason, you must understand what they’re capable of.

Getting your trees tested and inspected by a professional will allow you to get an idea as to how much danger your property might be in should a storm arise.

Looking for tree inspection services in Chicago? You’re in the right place.

Need Help Preparing Your Trees for Winter Storms?

Preparing your trees to withstand winter storm damage in Chicago can be a daunting task. It’s not always easily done alone. Looking for some help? If so, you’re in the right place.

Here at Smitty’s Tree and Arbor Service, we know exactly what measures to take to minimize storm damage to the trees on your Chicagoland property. With over 60 years of experience on our side, we’ll work to keep your estate as safe and protected as possible.

Contact us for more information!

How to Preemptively Prevent Storm Damage to Your Trees2019-04-21T03:26:28+00:00

Save Your Trees: Hire a Professional Tree Trimmer


Many people understand the need for professionals when it comes to things like fixing plumbing or repairing a car, but when it comes to landscaping, do-it-yourself projects reign supreme. After all, how hard can it be to plant a flower, spread mulch, or lay sod?

Save Your Trees Hire a Professional Tree Trimmer

While some landscaping tasks can be tackling on a weekend by earnest homeowners, there are some tasks that should always be entrusted to a professional. Pruning and trimming your trees may seem simple, but DIY tree trimming can actually cost you the life and beauty of the trees you are trying to improve.

Here’s why inexpert pruning can prematurely end the life of your beautiful trees.

Taking Too Much

When you prune your own trees, you risk taking too much in the wrong places.

Taking Sections

Many people look at pruning as a method of cutting back a tree because it has gotten too large or grown too close to a house, power line, or window. However, to compensate for this growth, homeowners can chop away several branches, removing all the offending areas that have grown too large or too close for comfort.

While it’s natural to want to prevent a tree from taking over, especially when the branches represent a danger, this approach to pruning leads to structural instability. Pruning is about balance. Often this approach to pruning removes weighty branches from one side of the crown.

Continuing to encourage this pattern of growth results in a lopsided crown. During a storm or another stressful situation, the entire tree could blow over because it is not weighted well.

Taking Evenly

Even if you take evenly from all around the tree, many people still make the mistake of taking too much. Pruning is a gentle art, and it requires taking a little at a time over several seasons during the tree’s life, gradually and artfully directing the natural growth patterns.

Too many homeowners view pruning as a time for drastic action after a tree has already gotten out of control. They cut back or cut out tons of foliage, thinking they will have longer to wait until the job needs done again if they just do it all at once.

Removing so much foliage causes intense damage to the tree, as it needs its leaves and branches for food and continued healthy growth. Without naturally thick foliage, the tree is also more likely to experience sunburn and blighting.

If you have a tree that causes you concern, it’s best to consider moving or removing the tree entirely, instead of continually cutting it back. Alternatively, it’s best to rely on a professional arborist who can maintain the structural integrity of your tree.

Improper Cuts

When you prune a tree, you have to know exactly what you’re doing, or you risk hurting the tree. Professionals know how to avoid the following.

Cutting Mid-Branch

When removing large branches, it’s important to cut them close to the mother stem. This means that large branches should not be chopped off in the middle of the branch, nor should smaller branches. Not only does this type of pruning shock the tree, but it requires a great deal of nutrients from other tree components to heal the damage.

If someone continues to cut a branch or stem in the middle instead of at the proper angle close to the mother branch, the internal components of the tree become consistently deprived of nutrients. The outer areas of the tree will have explosive new growth, but the older branches closer to the trunk will have fewer leaves and may even die.

Growth becomes patchy and the true growth pattern of the tree can be compromised. Eventually, the tree will lose its natural growth patterns and branches will die or lose health at random until the entire tree is too damaged to continue growing.

Cutting Branch Collars

Another common cutting mistake is removing the branch collar that surrounds branches as they leave the trunk or larger branch. This is a bulbous, bumpy area with cells that help to repair wounds to the tree. When you remove the collar entirely, the tree heals much more slowly, and stays open to insects and diseases. Your tree, if it becomes infected, will die.

Topping or Raising

Some branches seem to grow too low to the ground, so homeowners “raise” the tree by cutting the lowest branches off, leaving a “broccoli tree” shape. Other find a tree is growing too tall, so they cut the entire top of the tree off to prevent the tree from growing taller. Both methods are problematic.


Raising the tree increases the danger that the tree will be less sturdy during winds and storms. Cutting lower branches removes the majority of the tree’s balanced shape. Large limbs higher up the tree are more likely to break, especially the leaves and smaller branches have been removed as well to let more sunlight through.


Topping removes the new growth on the top half of the tree’s leaf and branch structure. Not only does it open several branches and the main trunk itself up to disease, but it also weakens the branch structure of the entire tree. It may never recover.

As you can see, pruning and trimming is not a simple landscaping task like planting a flower or mowing a lawn. If you have beautiful trees, Smitty’s Tree Service can keep them beautiful with professional arborist services.

Save Your Trees: Hire a Professional Tree Trimmer2019-04-21T03:36:35+00:00