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

Example 5: Redbud in Residential Yard

Crotch injury can be repaired by taking advantage of the tree's natural ability to repair its wounds, but the process requires specialized techniques. The repaired crotch may never regain its original strength, which means that measures must also be taken to permanently reduce stress at this locus on the tree's stem. For example, it is usually necessary to surgically remove excess limbs that add stress to the crotch. Notice that this tree was carrying a lot of weight in the limbs on the right side of the affected crotch, where stress would be most severe. It is possible that the catastrophic damage shown here could have been avoided if the right-most limb had been removed prior to this wind storm.

The lower photo on the right provides a close-up view of a portion of the wood in the crotch of this tree. A number of invasive organisms have been living in this crevice for some time. These and their secretions coat the surfaces of the crevice, impeding the healing process. Injuries of this nature must be attended to as quickly as possible, preferably well in advance of the use of the crevice as habitat by invading organisms.

Bugsinthenews ... Trees in Central Texas

The Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a valuable ornamental species that is often planted in central Texas. It is susceptible to a number of diseases. When the crotch of a large limb is stressed by wind or abuse, the wood may crack slightly, allowing moisture and fungal spores to enter. These agents work on the crack to enlarge and deepen it, as was done in this specimen.