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Caring for trees after an ice storm

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tree care after the storm.

What to do about your trees?

After the recent storm damage, clean up and recovery becomes the next step. With every yard filled with tree tops, branches, sticks and limbs one must step back and decide what to do with your damaged trees. Are they worth saving? Can they be saved or repaired?

Safety First

With all types of lines tangled in damaged trees, clean up can be hazardous. Under no circumstances should you remove limbs that have electrical lines running through them.

The first step after checking to make sure no lines are obstruction your limbs, is to remove trees or limbs that have fallen on your home or are blocking access. Also look up for hanging limbs in the trees, which could drop on your home or family.

While cleaning up you can assess the situation. Often when smaller limbs are damaged, pruning to remove these will result in little to no permanent damage and your tree will revive on its own.

It is necessary to remove loose or loosely attached branches to avoid further injury to the trees you want to keep.

When taking on the removal job, don't take on more than your skill level will allow. Operation of chain saws especially off the ground should only be done by skilled professional arborist with the correct special equipment.

Never top or severely prune storm-damaged trees. Topping weakens trees and will subject them to more damage in future storms.

When removeing brokenbranches, cut up from the bottom of any rip, as not to damage any more of the bark . If you have smaller branches, be sure to remove the entire limb. You don't want to leave a stub, that is not going to help anything.

If you have larger branches, that are broken, you may need to search out a tree service.

Don't worry if the tree appears to be unbalanced or naked at first with limbs gone. A healthy mature tree can recover even when several major limbs are damaged. If you have a valuable tree which appears to be boarder line, resist the temptation to simplycut it down. After careful pruning broken branches, give trees time to recover. Often new foliage will return a tree to it's natural beauty.

If your trees have suffered more serious damage such as large broken limbs or splitting, ask yourself, "Given the condition, is the tree worth saving?"

Some trees which may be already weakened by disease, has more than 50 percent of the crown gone or the trunk is split should be removed. Any trees which are leaning could have weakened roots and may pose the treat of falling in future heavy wind or rain storms.

The Arkansas and Missouri Departments of conservation Forestry divisions recommend, save a tree only if more than 50 percent of the crown remains intact.

Some consideration may be given to the age of the tree, species, location, property value enhancement and of course sentimental value.

After taking a survey of the damage, you can now make a decision to hire a tree service.

Selecting an Arborist

Arborist are people who are primarily involved in the planting, pruning and caring for trees. When hiring someone to work on your trees, be sure to hire a certified, professional arborist. Here are some tips to help your find a qualified person in your area.

Check the phone book.

Directory listings do not mean they are good, but the company is permanent and you should be able to find them later if need be.

Ask for proof of liability insurance.

Ask for proof of certification and membership in professional organizations.

Ask for local references. Good arborists are proud of their work and should be able to provide a list of past clients.

To find out who is certified by zip code in your area, you can go to http://www.isa-arbor.com/findarborist/ve....

Hiring a tree service

With all of the current storm damage, people are in a hurry to get their trees trimmed and debris removed. When the decision has been made to have a tree service do work for you, here are some suggestions which should be taken into consideration.

Contact your insurance agent. Some homeowners policies do cover tree removal.

Use caution before hiring people who knock on your door with a pick-up and a chain saw. Door knockers are especially common after storm damage and are notorious for recommending tree topping, an unhealthy tree-trimming practice.

Do not accept the take-it-now deals. The person offering these deals may try to pressure you into something you will regret later.

Check for listings in the phone book.

Get more than one bid before making a choice.

Ask for local references and local locations of their work.

Make sure you agree and the tree service provider knows exactly what work you want to be done, including brush removal.

Once trees are pruned and the damaged ones removed, the decision to replant new trees can be made.

Trees are a valuable resource and can be an important asset to your property.

Landscaped trees can increase your property value.

Trees help prevent erosion runoff.

Trees placed in the proper location can reduce heating and cooling costs.

Trees provide food and shelter to a wide range of wildlife.

Trees absorb airborne pollution and produces oxygen.

With the wide spread damage the entire area has experienced, the forest of trees which surrounds us will look somewhat different for years to come, but Mother Nature has a way of recovering and providing new growth and beauty for all of us to enjoy.

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I live in Minnisota, Have been in supervision for ironworkers for 27 years.Job sites are down for the next 4 to 6 weeks.I plan on heading down that way Saturday or Sunday to help my parents, who are both retired,to start cleaning up at their place up on white horse.i'm pretty handy with my chainsaws.My question is, how can i help others down there with tree cleanup without people thinking they are bbeing took.I have an excellent salary, so money is not a great issue, just wanna help, get out of minnisota for a few weeks before my wife finds something else rediculous for me to do. Richard Francis

-- Posted by labsareit on Thu, Feb 12, 2009, at 12:16 PM

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