If you have young or mature trees on your property and a windy day passes by, it's highly likely you'll find your yard sprinkled with twigs, a large branch or two, and possibly even a fallen tree.
Known for having a windy climate, Southern Manitoba has lived up to that this spring with a number of wind warnings issued for areas in the region this spring. That's been tough on both young and older trees.
Winkler Arborist Wil Epp and owner and operator of Wil's Tree Care says it's important, both for safety reasons and for the health of your trees, to identify any damage. He says the damage may not be obvious with trees now full of leaves, so you will want to check closely.
When damage does occur, Epp says you want to take care of it as quickly as possible so that the tree can seal itself from other harm. He says trees by nature do take care of themselves, but you do have to help them. "You have to prune it properly so that the tree can seal itself off from the wound so that infection doesn't get in. That's a big piece, that infection will get into a bad wound and it will just start to rot, but we want to prevent that, and we can by helping it."
Epp says, on a regular basis, he's still seeing the damage done to trees during the 2019 Thanksgiving blizzard that is being ignored.
If it looks like your tree is harmed significantly, giving it some fertilizer can also help it on its way back to health. Epp suggested picking up some fertilizer spikes which are readily available at local stores. "Follow the directions on it and give your trees some good fertilizer, that will help it as well to recover from any harm."
When it comes to pruning, Epp says you will want to ensure it is done properly, as there is a right way and a wrong way. If you're planning to tackle a tree pruning project on your own, and you're not certain about the correct way to do it, Epp recommends looking up the proper technique ahead of time.
"If it's something you feel you can handle safely on a good ladder, go ahead, be really careful. It's hard to know which way a branch is going to fall for sure. So, when you're doing that, make sure there's no young children or others around that could get hurt." Epp encouraged calling a professional that has the equipment to do the job safely if you find the branch is out of your reach.
If the affected tree is on the boulevard, Epp says you should let your city or town office know. "They (public works) can't look at every tree in the city that's their responsibly, so they rely on you to call and say, 'hey, there's a boulevard tree in my yard that needs help.'"
With many new developments throughout the region, various conservation initiatives, and the overall general love of nature - a lot of young trees are in the area as a result. Young trees are especially vulnerable to damage, says Epp.
Epp says he not only sees trees damaged by disease and the weather but almost daily he is seeing damage caused by lawnmowers and weed whackers.
"Weed whackers and lawnmowers kill trees, especially young trees," added Epp. He says the essential bark where all the nutrients are flowing to keep the tree alive is actually quite thin. He says the small nylon line of the weed whacker can really damage that. "It doesn't much at all and you'll see significant damage to a tree as it ages, and that damage will just become more evident as the tree ages. The lawnmower, just by bumping into it and scraping alongside. All of those things can really damage trees."