Trees do more than just sit and soak up the sun—they often become well-loved parts of our homes, adding beauty to a yard and increasing property value. When severe storms have threatened the life of a tree, it’s best to act quickly and either save the tree or have it removed to avoid potential damage to the people and property in its path.

Inspecting Your Property

After a major storm, carefully walk around your property to assess any damage. Use extreme caution around downed power lines and trees that may have hanging or split limbs. Some branches or even whole trees may have fallen to the ground, but look upward to take note of limbs trapped on power lines or tangled up in other branches. If it appears that one or more of your trees needs attention, always call in a professional.

Calling In a Professional

Demand for tree professionals can skyrocket after heavy storms. Some people take advantage of this need by offering amateur work to homeowners desperate for someone to take care of their tree damage. Be wary of people going door to door with no more than a chain saw and a truck—legitimate tree professionals do not do this. Quality tree care companies employ professionals who are experts at trimming, doctoring, and removing trees when necessary, and they typically have certified arborists or degreed foresters on staff. Avoid the risks associated with inexperienced tree care companies by hiring reputable professionals trained to safely and efficiently work with tree damage.

Tree Doctoring

A tree professional will be able to assess whether or not a tree can be saved by the amount of crown remaining, the size of the wound, the type and size of branches lost, and the tree’s overall health prior to the storm. If the tree can be saved, a professional will carefully prune away damaged portions of the tree. A follow-up visit may be required to check on the tree’s progress in cases where it’s uncertain whether the tree can in fact survive. Afterward, a damaged tree will need time and quality care to recover. Mulch and proper watering techniques should be applied, so ask your professional if you are unsure of what regimen to follow. Avoid fertilizing too soon, which can negatively affect a tree’s growth pattern, as well as applying any dressings. Tree dressings, once believed to help heal a tree’s wounds, can actually hinder its natural recovery process.

Tree Removal

If removal is necessary, you’ll want to work with a professional who can minimize damage to your surrounding property. While accidents can happen even with the best companies, an amateur tree removal can result in costly repairs to your home or surrounding property. Even worse, someone could get hurt.

Whenever possible, compare quotes from multiple companies. The cost of tree removal can vary significantly based on the method used. The more precautions a company takes to ensure safety and minimal damage to your property, the higher the cost may be. Ask whether or not cleanup is included and what happens to the wood. Some companies will cut up the limbs into firewood for you to keep, or the tree can be fed through a chipper. Also, make sure stump grinding is included in the cost if you would like it removed along with the tree.

While storms can devastate the trees that have become a part of your home, it’s best to quickly and safely address the problem to avoid further injury to your property or its inhabitants. A well-trained tree care professional will be able to determine whether or not the tree can be saved as well as the proper measures to take. If a tree needs to be removed, a quality tree company can safely and efficiently handle removals of any size.

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Sources: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA); Virginia Department of Forestry.

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