Lone Tree, CO

Lone Tree’s forester offers advice to protect trees from spring storms

Natasha Lovato

Photo byLone Tree

Natasha Lovato / NewsBreak Denver

(Lone Tree, Colo.) March and April are historically Colorado’s snowiest months and now that spring has sprung, Lone Tree’s forester offers advice to keep those new saplings alive.

Sam Waggener, Lone Tree’s forester, has seen spring storms wreak havoc on new plants and recommends residents delay planting until after Mother’s Day.

Last May, Douglas County experienced a blizzard late in the season after much gardening was already completed. Waggener recommends waiting to plant in case another delayed blizzard hits the front range this year.

Assess the damage

Waggener says that the first thing residents should do after a spring storm is assess damage.

“Trees have an amazing ability to bounce back and heal themselves, but you’ll want to check major branches for any cracking, breakage, or major structural damage,” he said.

“If more than half of a tree is in bad condition, with major loss of foliage, then the tree might not produce enough sugars for dormancy and next year’s buds.”

After assessing damage, Waggener stated that residents would need to make an executive decision on the fate of the tree or plant.

“If you’re keeping the tree, then your next step will be to start pruning out the broken branches,” he said.

Waggener’s guide to pruning is available here.

Preventative measures

Although the weather can be unpredictable, there are several ways to prevent storm damage.

Create a pruning cycle to reduce the risk of wet, heavy snow snapping branches in half.

Waggener explained that pruning cycles improve the tree’s structure, reduce the risk of breakage. Clearance trimming maintains the tree’s health by removing infected, infested, damaged, or rubbing branches, which helps to restore the tree’s health.

“Pruning cycles can range depending on species, but a good start is to prune every four to six years, which is the sweet spot for trimming trees, but always do your homework.”

Wagger warns residents not to cut tree tops.

“This leads to weaker branches which are unable to handle future storms,” he said.

Instead, Waggener suggests only cutting one of the tops if a tree is in a V formation.

Waggener also encourages residents to reach out for additional advice by email at sam.waggener@cityoflonetree.com

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Lovato covers local news for Douglas County, Colo. Contact via email: natasha.lovato@newsbreak.com

Douglas County, CO

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