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Storm-Damaged Trees? Helpful Tips for Homeowners

fallen tree
High wind and torrential rain can wreak havoc to your home's landscaping, especially any mature trees you may have on your property. When the damage is substantial and presents a safety risk, immediate tree removal may be necessary. When the damage is less severe, saving the tree may be possible if the homeowner is able to recognize the problem and take appropriate action right away.
Homeowners who want to make the best decision about their storm-damaged trees may find the following tips helpful.

Assess the Damage Carefully

A tree that has been brutally damaged by wind, lightning, or hail can be a shocking sight for homeowners, especially if the tree was a stately favorite of the family. This emotional response can make it difficult to grasp the level of damage the tree has suffered. This is why it is important for homeowners to take some time to assess the damage carefully before making any permanent decisions about the tree.
If the damaged tree presents some type of danger, such as being tangled in electrical lines, you must report it to the electric company or city immediately. In situations where no apparent danger to people or property is likely, homeowners can afford to take time to assess the damage carefully, including having it inspected by a certified arborist to determine the best plan of action.

Act in the Best Interest of the Tree

Healthy trees are surprisingly resilient, even when the damage appears to be significant, such as the loss of a large limb. In many cases, a large broken limb will require pruning at the location where the base of the limb meets the tree. The resulting wound may weep and have to be monitored for insect activity, but in most cases, it will scab over without causing permanent damage to the tree.
If several branches are broken or damaged, homeowners will want to remove them and then wait for a few weeks. This will allow you time to observe the tree to see if wilting or any sign of further damage occurs. If none is apparent after a few weeks, the homeowner may only need to have the tree pruned to help it regain an attractive shape. However, if green leaves wilt or dead areas appear, the tree may have suffered more serious damage and will need to be evaluated by a professional to determine the best course of action.
Trees that receive severe, easily visible damage, such as the loss of part of the main trunk or more than one large limb, may not be salvageable. In this case, quick removal and replacement with another tree may be the best option to pursue.

Avoid Potential Scams

When storms are large and cause serious damage to widespread areas, scam artists will quickly arrive on scene offering to remove trees, do landscaping repair, or remove limbs and debris. To avoid being ripped off by unlicensed, uninsured scammers who require large payments in advance of performing the work, homeowners should always double check the following:
  • Require copies of identification and insurance coverage for property damage, worker's compensation, and liability insurance
  • Ask for proof that they are equipped to handle tree removal or care, such as proof of certification by one of the professional arborist associations
  • Determine where their business is located and if it is legitimate by searching online for their business website and then contacting their home office
Since working with an unknown landscaping company is always risky, homeowners should always opt to contact a local company of their choosing, instead of waiting for a potential scam artist to seek them out.
For more information about storm-damaged trees, including emergency tree care and removal services, contact us at Bill's Tree Care & Landscape, Inc.