Did fire leave a trail of destruction and burned trees on your property? As a property owner, it’s now up to you to make some tough choices. You must determine the extent of the damage, remove fire-killed trees, and help the forest floor recover.
In this post, Raleigh Tree Service, Wake Forest’s tree service company, goes over how to deal with burned trees.
Determine the Fire Burn Intensity
Ask your local forest service for a copy of the Department of Agriculture’s Fire Burn Intensity Classification information. Using this scale, you can determine if the fire burned at a high enough temperature to make the land sterile.
Land in the medium to high fire intensity zones is likely sterile. What this means is that new plants you put in will need extra measures like standard or hydro-mulching. Depending on what you’re planting, it may be best to wait until spring before reseeding the area.
However, you should still mulch the land now so that it has a chance to recover from the damage. The sooner you begin this process, the better.
Sterile soil may also repel water. As such, planting straight away is counterproductive because there are no beneficial micro-organisms, and the plant’s roots will not get enough water.
If you must replace burned trees immediately, use a hydro-mulching technique to improve your odds of success. This technique involves mixing cellulosic mulch, a binder, water, fertilizer, seed, and dye and spraying it onto the ground.
By doing so, you provide the seeds with ample water and nutrients to get a good start. The dye allows you to see where you apply the mixture, and the cellulosic material retains water and protects the soil from scorching in the sun. Eventually, the cellulose breaks down, releasing nutrients into the ground.
If you do not need to plant straight away, straw mulch provides an inexpensive protective agent for the soil. Opt for a certified weed-free type of straw so that you don’t bring in weeds and cover the ground in an even layer. The straw prevents scorching in the sun and also retains water. As it degrades, it releases nutrients into the soil.
Before starting post-fire logging, it’s worth considering erosion control. Remove hazard trees, but consider leaving less dangerous burned trees in place to prevent erosion. The roots will bind the soil on slopes and in areas where flash floods are likely.
Develop a Post-Fire Logging Plan
Now that you better understand the situation, it’s time to remove the burned trees in an orderly fashion. Outline the most effective way to thin the damaged trees while maintaining erosion control and preserving trees that could recover.
You may also leave some of the dead trees in place to provide a habitat for local wildlife. Remove the branches first and lop or chip them before scattering them. They will break down, releasing any remaining nutrients, and you don’t increase greenhouse gas emissions by burning them.
In cases where the trees may recover, leave them alone unless they pose a risk of falling. Give them a little time to see if they recover. Trees are surprisingly resilient and can often recover if much of their canopy and root systems remain intact.
If you are unsure, our team at Raleigh Tree Service offers inexpensive inspection services.
Get Expert Advice Today!
Are you unsure where to start with your burned trees? Contact us at Raleigh Tree Service at 919-889-5783 for emergency tree services and expert advice on how to deal with this dilemma. We’ll send out an arborist to Wake Forest and the surrounding areas to survey the extent of the damage and help you plan the land’s recovery.