"They tend not to survive. It's going to be very difficult for that tree to compartmentalize that wound; it's going to get rot in there," Woody said. If you prune a tree correctly, they can compartmentalize the wound and heal correctly, but losing a co-dominant trunk is a difficult wound from which a tree can recover.
"Maples are bad for the co-dominant stems," he added.
Woody stresses preventative maintenance to prevent future tree damage.
"A lot of times you'll see these trees break, it's because of rot and decay. I watch trees all the time -- that's my deal," Woody said. "I don't drive certain places in high winds. Two or three of them I've been watching came down in this storm.
"A big contributing factor to a tree failing is the health and integrity of your trees. You have to promote health, vigor. I recommend mulching your trees to provide essential nutrients such as nitrogen. Don't lay it too thick, you'll promote top rooting."
That said, Woody added that 90 percent of the fine fibrous roots of a tree are located in the upper 12 inches of soil.
To see how much area to mulch under a tree, drive around the neighborhood and observe the size of the root balls on trees that have uprooted. That's the size of the area that should be mulched.
Woody pointed to another factor in why some "healthy looking" trees fell and others didn't.
"A big thing that's happening, that may be the answer to why this tree fell and this one didn't, is Armillaria root rot, a natural occurring pathogen," Woody said. The fungus is infecting stressed trees weakened by insects or climate stresses throughout the United States.
Hannah said smaller trees that were bent by the wind can be straightened in hope of salvage.
"Big trees didn't bend too much, because if they did bend a lot, they broke," he said. "If the tree is still fairly straight, it is probably not as big a concern. It will be on a case-by-case basis, and each valuable tree needs to be evaluated by an arborist.
"Major trunk damage, large cavities, cracks, probably not going to be good news for the tree," Hannah said.
Hannah stressed the value of trees in the urban landscape.
"There's a formula that is used by ISA that starts with the species. Each species is worth a percentage of 100. They then go through various steps: location, size of tree, overall health and vigor, and come up with a value. It's more art than science," Hannah said. But Hannah noted that a tree could be valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.
For more information about urban and community forestry and related programs, contact Bob Hannah at 304-825-6983 or Robert.L.Han...@wv.gov.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.