Windstorm Damage of May 20, 2001
Disease Makes Trees More Vulnerable to High Winds

Example 6: Carolina Poplar in Residential Yard #1

The Carolina Poplar, which is planted in new subdivisions from time to time, is a hybrid between the Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) and the European Black Poplar (Populus nigra). It is not a strong tree, but grows quickly. These two characteristics, in combination, often spell disaster in wind storms.

This particular tree had suffered wind damage in the past, judging from the stump of the main stem, at its highest point. The limb that fell on the car in the driveway was the highest limb on the tree prior to the wind storm and, unfortunately, was substantial in size and weight. Whenever a tree suffers serious wind damage in its higher branches, one should immediately become concerned that collateral damage may have occurred in nearby branches as well. Such damage will eventually make itself known, as in this case.

As the close-up photo on the left shows, this limb had suffered crotch injury some time ago. This was later exaggerated by invasive organisms that took up housekeeping in the crevice of the crotch over the intervening period. Besides fungal rot, wood borers had also taken up residence, attracted by the exposed wood.

Although this species is not the best tree for residential yards, the potential for damage of this nature can be minimized by judicious pruning and prompt repair of damaged tree sections.

Bugsinthenews ... Trees in Central Texas