Urban Storm Cleanup
Whether it takes the form of ice, snow, or wind, a storm can have a significant negative impact on trees. Being prepared for a storm may actually be more important than responding to tree damage afterward. A tree that has been inspected and properly maintained is less likely to experience branch or whole tree failure during inclement weather. Maintenance includes preventative removal of dead, dying, and decayed limbs, and regular inspections around your home and throughout your community will identify trees that present a risk and should be pruned or removed.
Once a storm hits, assessing the damage it has caused to your trees is a critical first step. Even though a tree has lost limbs or its bark is damaged, it has a very good chance for surviving and recovering over time. If you are concerned about the risk status of your tree, it is important to have a qualified arborist who is trained in hazard tree assessment take a look at the tree before having it removed. The North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS) encourages the use of International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborists, American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) arborists and companies accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).
If you choose to do the clean up yourself, you should work with a partner, particularly when operating equipment such as chainsaws. If you are not familiar with chainsaws, you should consult a professional for your tree work. If you use a chainsaw, follow these guidelines:
- Work only on the ground and always use personal protective equipment such as a hard hat, eye protection, chainsaw chaps and appropriate footwear.
- Keep both hands on the chainsaw handle at all times.
- Use caution when cutting with the tip of the chainsaw to avoid kickback.
- Cut at waist level or below.
- Before any work begins, survey the site for hazards such as downed electrical wires, leaning trees or broken limbs hanging in the canopy.
- If electrical wires are an issue, do not attempt the tree work. Contact your utility company and let them remove the electrical wires.
For communities that may require assistance in identifying public tree hazards, the North Carolina Forest Service is a partner with other states in the Urban Forest Strike Team Program. We can assist in identifying and inventorying public trees that require attention due to storm damage.
For assistance or if you have questions about the Urban Forest Strike Team Program, please contact the NCFS urban forestry specialists, Eric Muecke (828) 438-3795 x205 or Alan Moore at (919) 857-4841.