Gardening Pruning Trees

What to Do With Damaged Trees in Your Backyard

Trees are some of the best gifts that nature has provided. Some species are so tall that living organisms can use them as shade in the peak of summer. Others have strong branches for people to climb on if they want to know how it feels to be on top of the world. But many of them can be so gorgeous that they easily take up the limelight when landscaping is involved.

Because of their versatility, homeowners can find different uses for them. However, seeing them damaged might be painful for some, because they’re the highlight of your property. After all, you don’t grow trees with a mere snap of your fingers. They require a careful eye and generous attention. So, collecting ‘injuries’ is as painful for you as it is for them.

How to Deal With Damaged Trees

As the homeowner, you’re responsible for everything that happens to your property. Even if it’s something beyond your control, like a tree getting struck by lightning. Doing damage control falls into your hands, especially if it’s in your yard. 

Although there are numerous ways to go about it, not all of them might work. Therefore, you need to know how exactly you should go about handling a damaged tree.

Of course, any branches that have come down and are lying on the ground, far from any power lines, are certainly something you can deal with. Find your hatchet, rent a chain saw, put on a helmet and safety gear (including goggles to protect your eyes) and have a go at it. You can reduce them to firewood, kindling, shingles, etc. They’re no longer part of a living tree, you can do what you want. It’s handling a damaged tree yourself that’s not always a wise thing to do.

1. Inspect Your Trees

On the surface, trees seem to have simple biology, consisting of roots, tree trunks, branches, and leaves. But despite how straightforward their appearance is, the extent of the damage they receive can get complicated. After all, they’re still living organisms run by complex systems.

Broken tree limbs are a common casualty since they’re less thick than a tree trunk. However, the size of these broken branches changes things. Smaller ones are likely to regrow at a faster rate than larger ones. Although you may find it relieving to know they can still grow back, the speed at which they need to do so can affect the tree’s overall health. 

A tree with a slow healing rate is open for infection. So, you might want to consider getting those chainsaw chaps on and start removing it. The same goes for tree trunks that split open. But only consider this when you’re not attached to the tree or don’t have the time to give it regular check-ups.

Tree trunk falling and damaging white metal fence.
Close up of a large limb that fell off a tree damaging part of a white metal fence. Photo: AdobeStock

2. Contact an Expert

Being a homeowner is a multilayered occupation. After all, it takes a lot of work to stay on top of everything going on within your property. And just because you own your property doesn’t mean you’re expected to be all-knowing. And there are cases where you simply can’t be the one to do the job.

It’s certainly easy enough to purchase your own climbing gear. However, no amount of high-quality safety equipment can guarantee a decent job on whatever it is you intend to do to the tree. Unless you’re well versed in arboriculture, it’s unlikely that you would be able to give a seriously damaged tree the care it needs. And that’s not counting how dangerous it is to do so in some instances. This is particularly true with dangling branches, trees leaning off to the side and power lines in the vicinity.

Two Basic Laidback Gardener Rules

If you can’t prune it with your two feet solidly on the ground, you shouldn’t be doing it yourself. Nor should you prune anything, even a fallen branch, if it’s within 10 feet (3 m) of a high or medium voltage power line. Those are cases where you need to call in a certified arborist.

Therefore, even though you may have some knowledge about landscaping or gardening, it’s best to leave major tree surgery to the experts. This way, you won’t do anything worse to the tree that might affect the rest of your yard. Furthermore, you’ll be completely safe watching them work from afar.

3. Apply Preventative Measures 

You should always live by the saying ‘Prevention is better than the cure.’ Even when it comes to handling trees. Because, as mentioned earlier, trees are still living organisms. That renders them capable of getting infected and becoming aged over time.

It’s best to eliminate the small problems before they can escalate to bigger ones. That will lower the chance of your tree’s susceptibility to those problems. Although they’re great for attracting birds, trimming affected and excess branches while they’re young is often the best way to prevent issues from snowballing.

If you let branches grow too long, they may start to hang over your house. Or get too close to the power line. Then, should some natural phenomena hit, you’re likely to deal with a problem so big that the rest of your property might become toast! 


Generally, trees are always a welcoming sight. From offering you cool shade to creating the most beautiful sights throughout the year, there’s no question about how much benefit people can get from them. But like any living organism, trees are susceptible to the elements that could compromise their health. Therefore, as the homeowner, it’s up to you to deal with them. Otherwise, the damage they carry might cause a domino effect throughout your entire property.

1 comment on “What to Do With Damaged Trees in Your Backyard

  1. Pingback: When Mother Nature Does the Pruning - Laidback Gardener

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