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Front Range residents dealing with snow-damaged trees after the significant weekend storm may now be considering actions to protect and repair them. Keith Wood, community forestry program manager for the Colorado State Forest Service, said that although the first impulse may be to start sawing, homeowners should first assess the situation to avoid hurting themselves or further damaging the tree.
1. Check for hazards. Before approaching a tree, examine your surroundings to avoid making contact with downed utility lines or standing under hanging branches that are broken and ready to fall.
2. Contact city officials if necessary.
3. Assess the damage. If a tree is healthy overall and still possesses its leader (the main upward branch), most of its major limbs and 50 percent or more of its crown, the chance is good for a complete recovery.
4. Be careful knocking snow off branches. This may cause the branches to break. If you must remove snow, gently push up on branches from below to prevent adding additional stress.
5. Remove broken branches. This minimizes the risk of decay and insects or diseases entering the wound. Prune at the branch collar – the point where a branch joins a larger one – and be mindful of potential pent-up energy if the branch is twisted or bent.
6. Don’t over-prune. With the loss of some branches, a tree may look unbalanced, but most trees quickly grow new foliage that hides bare areas.
7. Don’t try to do it all yourself. If the job requires running a chainsaw overhead, sawing from a ladder or removing large branches or entire trees, contact an insured, certified arborist.
— MetroWest reports