After a natural disaster strikes, it's crucial to salvage as many trees and shrubs as possible. Below are valuable tips derived from a pamphlet created by the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office after Hurricane Hugo in 1996.

1. Contact Your Insurance Company First
Before taking any action, consult your insurance company, as some may not cover debris removal. Keep in mind that lost trees can impact your property value. Don't feel rushed into tree removal—ensure removal is necessary before proceeding and salvage whatever you can.

2. Ensure Safety First
Address safety concerns by clearing fallen limbs and branches. Be cautious when removing attached branches, as they might spring back upon detachment.

3. Salvage Uprooted Plants
Quickly reposition uprooted shrubs and small trees to save them from dehydration. Embed their roots back into the soil. For added stability, use guy wires to support small trees, using rubber hose to protect the trunk where wires contact.

4. Save Large Uprooted Trees
Saving large uprooted trees is challenging, even with certified arborists' help. To increase chances of success, stabilize the tree by covering exposed roots with straw, burlap, or soil while maintaining moisture around the roots.

5. Understand Plant Recovery
Don't give up on trees and shrubs that appear dry and leafless in the weeks after the disaster. They might rejuvenate in the following spring.

6. Prune Broken Wood Effectively
Trim damaged branches to the nearest "fork." Make cuts 1/4" to 1/2" from the junction, near the swollen branch collar. This area contains healing agents vital for proper recovery.

For assistance, contact a certified arborist.