Trees and Storms – What to Do “When A Storm Strikes”

Hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes are just some of the severe weather events that can threaten trees in Delaware with high winds and flooding. In turn, damaged trees can pose a risk to people and property. Here’s some advice from our friends at the National Arbor Day Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, American Forests, and the International Society of Arboriculture.

Click here for a PDF copy of the following information, When a Storm Strikes

“When a Storm Strikes” from the National Arbor Day Foundation Tree City USA® series of bulletins: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/uf/sotuf/chapter_4/appendix_a/appendixa.htm

Assessing the Damage
The first step is to assess the situation and decide what needs to be done – and by whom. Immediately notify police of any wires that are down on sidewalks or the street. Stay away, and keep other people away! In case of tree damage on your property, notify the phone or electric company of any problems with wires – and do not try to correct the situation yourself. If street trees are the responsibility of the municipality, report damage to the department that handles tree care. Check to see if they will remove the downed branches of privately owned trees if brought to curbside. For removal of downed trees or repair of damaged ones, decide if you want to do the work or hire someone to do it for you. Tree work can be extremely dangerous and a tree care company should be used especially when:

• a tree is large and requires high climbing or the use of a chain saw.
• the tree is partially down ~for example, leaning on a structure or entangled with another tree).
• wires are involved or structures are endangered.
• major repair of the tree is necessary, such as cabling or bolting a split fork.
• large limbs are split or broken but still attached to the tree.
• you do not have the proper tools, knowledge, or health to do tree work.

Selecting a Professional
After a storm, it is common in some areas for people to show up at your door offering their services to remove or repair trees. As one urban forester warned, “They seem to come out of the woodwork – people we have never even heard of before.” Do not be a victim.

Make sure you use only professionals who:
• are part of established businesses in the community or nearby areas, and who are working for the company rather than moonlighting.
• have a listing in the phone book, usually under Tree Service.
• are fully insured for property damage, personal liability and worker compensation.
• ideally, are members of a professional association of arborists.

It is also wise to get more than one estimate when possible. in case of removals, have a clear understanding about who removes the limbs and debris from the property, and whether or not the price includes stump removal and clean-up. Your tree will have value as firewood or chips, either to yourself or if sold to others, and should be considered in the estimate.