Catastrophic winds! Trees toppled! Any hope?

JPH

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I was awakened by the house literally shuddering in the wind and immediately ran outside to find many of my larger wild collected Black Spruce and Larch trees were toppled over despite being anchored with heavy stones. I blame myself since I should have tied them down/chained them. Lesson learned! I'm pretty sure the winds just started in the morning because I don't recall any winds last night. I moved them all to the other side of the house where they are sheltered, immediately refilled the grow boxes with whatever soil I had left and gave them a good watering. Luckily there doesn't seem to be much in the way of surface damage but I am worried about their roots! The trees are still recovering from being collected last fall, so this can't be good for them. I don't think they've snapped out of dormancy just yet, and the trees haven't started pushing new growth as it's still too early in the season. I live in zone 1b/1a, so I don't expect that to start until June. I really hope they are alright.

I didn't have any time to take pictures, since I was frantically moving them to safety.

Has anyone else had this happen to them? How did your trees fare? I accept responsibility for this as I knew in the back of my head to tie them...
 

Bonsai Nut

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I have had trees topple before - in fact just this spring I had a large elm blow off a bench and land on another elm - crushing the smaller elm and breaking off about half of the branches. But I live by the saying "when life gives you a crushed tree, make cuttings" :) (Also... build two wind barrier fences)

But back to your trees... if the root balls didn't dry out and the roots didn't receive any physical damage and the trees are still dormant, I think you'll be ok.
 

dtreesj

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Yeah, I really hate wind. Stuff gets blown around all the time. Trash cans get tossed across the yard and not long ago we had the siding replaced because it was ripped off the house. This is something I'm afraid of if I ever actually have a good tree.
 
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Cofga

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I run a piece of wire through the tie in wires where they come through the bottom of the pot. Then I loop that wire around a nail or screw on the bottom of the bench. That holds them securely. My benches are made up of 2x2 slats so it is easy to run these tie downs through them.
 
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Deep Sea Diver

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Same here. Multiple blow downs especially in May and September when the top hampers on many trees are extended.. You’d think I’d learn….

Looks like you did the exact thing I’d do. The good news is that the trees are likely still at least partially dormant by you.

cheers
DSD sends
 
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JPH

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I appreciate the reassurances! The original root balls are still intact with a lot of the native soil (which was left intentionally since they are conifers). They still felt damp when I checked them, but they did get knocked around. Luckily the wire that is anchoring them in the boxes held up and they didn't fall out completely. The only thing that fell out was the substrate I packed in around the root balls, and I replaced that as best I could. When the winds die down, I'll do a bit of chopsticking to make sure I get rid of any gaps.

I'm going to adjust the design of my grow boxes for my next round of trees. My plan is to add eye-bolts to the corners so I can easily run a length of chain through them. That way I can just anchor it to a bench with a padlock.

Cofga: "I run a piece of wire through the tie in wires where they come through the bottom of the pot. Then I loop that wire around a nail or screw on the bottom of the bench. That holds them securely. My benches are made up of 2x2 slats so it is easy to run these tie downs through them."
Edit: This is also a really great idea! I'll consider this option as well!
 

Shibui

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Roots, and trees in general, are a whole lot tougher than most of us give credit for. Roots need to be uncovered for some time before they dry out enough to cause root damage. Exposed to air overnight while it is cool will rarely cause any problems.
 
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