Hurricane Recovery

Resetting

Resetting and Restoring Access: Fruit and leaf debris can clog drainage and serve as a future source for pathogens.  Before trying to rehabilitate trees, make sure reliable irrigation is available . Most trees that have been blown over can be salvaged.  One year old trees can be straightened up or reset.  Even mature trees with 50% root loss can be partially excavated by digging out the area roots will occupy, lifting and straightening the tree using a cable and tractor.  Make sure the trunk is protected from bark damage during straightening operations. For larger trees, excavate an area larger than and as deep as the surviving roots extend.  Stabilize the tree upright near to the original depth of planting.  Angled trees will not grow as well as upright trees.  Try to replace the excavated soil at the same depth in was removed from (A horizons should not be placed at the bottom of a 3 foot deep hole), while watering the soil to ensure good root to soil contact.  Heavy trees may need to be braced with a forked branch or post until new roots can support the tree upright. View Slide Set

Although significant Topping will help stabilize the tree as it won't be so top heavy, pruning should be viewed with caution.  Drought stress is the most important limitation during recovery. If wilting occurs, the canopy can be pruned to balance the percentage of lost roots but this balance will eventually occur naturally. Experience has shown that pruning during recovery can reduce subsequent bloom.

Irrigation timing: Avoid drought stress by modifying schedules for canopy loss using frequent split applications.  Modify irrigation as necessary to support new growth.

Irrigation Placement: Move emitters if necessary to ensure irrigation of surviving roots. If the root zone is largely reduced, you may try inverting the emitter to reduce the pattern and discourage excessive weed growth.

Sunburn avoidance: Recently exposed wood can be killed by sunburn. Use white latex spray (50:50 dilution) or whitewash (50 lbs. hydrated lime and 4 lbs. zinc sulfate to each 100 gallons of water) to spray on exposed wood for shade to prevent sunburn during recovery.

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