Trees may look dreary, but they’re not dead; Save them with these tips

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OKLAHOMA - Many neighborhood streets are littered with branches on the curb and trees looking a little dreary. But before you pronounce them dead, there are some ways you can salvage them.

"Normally, there's no leaves on the trees by Thanksgiving Day. But this year, these trees are leaved up just more surface area to catch the ice," Ray Ridlin, educator at OSU Extension, said.

Sheets of ice turned trees into weapons-- crashing on roofs, vehicles, and each other.

If you don't plan to hire a licensed professional, Ray Ridlin has advice.

"See this branch is broken right here? You want to make an undercut cut first," Ridlin said. "If you just do it from here, all of the pressure will release down and it will tear the bark all the way down to the bottom, so you make the cut to interrupt the bottom part of the bark."

Then he says make a cut on top of the branch.

What you don't want to do is cut the crown of the tree.  It used to be common practice, but Ridlen says it can actually kill the tree.

"You kind of see that swollen area right there. If you make a cut right outside of that collar area, you'll get a nice healing cut," Ridlin said.

If you don't cut there, it's harder for the tree to heal.

"It won't callus over, and it will get decay back in there."

And some final advice from experts is: don't be too hasty to chop down a damaged tree. It could bounce back.

If you plan to repair your own trees, Oklahoma Forestry Services has tips for staying safe:

  • Wear safety gear
  • Don't climb into a heavily damaged tree
  • Never climb a ladder with a chain saw
  • Never touch any tree that is near electrical wires
  • Let the ice melt before you work on the branches

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