With blowdown, the tree is pushed over and damaged by high winds. There is very little you can do to storm proof or protect a tree from hurricanes, down-drafts or tornado winds. The wind force on a tree is often too great for the tree's cellular wood structure. Past tree abuse, poor maintenance and pest problems all predispose the tree to storm damage by weakening the supporting wood.
The "Cure": Keep trees healthy with timely watering and proper fertilization but don't over do. Healthy, vigorous trees adjust more quickly to changes in the environment, are more wind firm and react more effectively to damage. Always treat pest problems and remove dead wood.
After a damaging storm and with a tree blown down, you need to use extreme caution. Survey the tree from a distance and always make sure you stay away from any electrical wires (even if you think there is no live current). Don't attempt clean up immediately and if you are not an experienced chainsaw operator let a tree service remove the tree. Many tree owners are killed or injured hours and days after the storm.Crown Twist:
Crowns are trees' leaves, twigs and branches. Trees are never perfectly symmetrical in all directions. But many trees, through past abuse and poor management, have lopsided crowns which can cause wind loading. More wind on one side of the crown than on another produces a twist on branches and the main stem. Stem twisting will magnify weaknesses around old injuries and the stem will split or branches collapse.
The "Cure": Eliminate lopsided crowns. Prune branches to produce a reasonably symmetrical crown. If more than 70 percent of the crown is on one side of a mature tree, consider tree removal and replacement. Guying and bracing branches are last-ditch efforts when a tree has to be saved in spite of itself.
Again, check for electrical wires before approaching the tree during and after the storm. A twisted tree with large limbs can be very unstable and can still hurt you or damage property. When using power equipment and saws during cleanup, remember that many large limbs will be under strong, spring-loaded tension and limb and trunk kickback can kill.Lightning Strike:
Lightning either moves in a narrow line down the branches, stems and roots or along the entire tree bole. Lightning directly destroys tree tissues by electrical disruption and heat all the way down the stem and there can be massive root damage. Damage caused by lightning leads to extensive water loss. Pests quickly attack a lightning weakened and damaged tree.
The "Cure": Install lightning protection systems on historic, rare, specimen or recreational area trees. Unfortunately, lightning strike is fairly common and most trees just can't be protected and have to be removed. Check your home owner's insurance policy to make sure you are covered for lightning strike removal.
Although you need to use some caution when approaching and working around a lightning-strike tree, most of these trees are left mostly intact and become more dangerous as they deteriorate and rot. In most cases, were a tree has been harmed by lightning in the landscape, it will suffer major deformation or eventual death. Again, caution must be used when removing the tree and only professionals should attempt the tree removal.