Seeing a beloved tree toppled over or broken after a storm can overwhelm any homeowner. It might be hard to know where to start cleaning up. Especially if your home has been damaged too. You may even have unknown businesses come to your door selling “emergency” tree work.
Many homeowners want to jump in and do things on their own. However, when it comes to trees, short-term decisions (or sawing cuts) can have years-long consequences. Some jobs are safe for do-it-yourselfers, such as removing small broken branches. But larger jobs can be dangerous. These tips from our experts can help you make the best decisions, and avoid common pitfalls after storm damage.
After a Storm
- Be aware of hazards like fallen power lines and broken tree limbs, which may be hanging overhead. Fallen trees or tree parts can easily hide electrical hazards.
- Contact your insurance provider or take pictures of damaged property before moving any part of a tree that has hit a structure.
- Don’t get taken advantage of. Verify insurance and licensing information from anyone selling tree services following a storm. Click here to verify an arborist’s ISA credential. This article offers tips on how to hire an arborist.
How Much Storm Damage is Too Much?
A tree may need to be removed if:
- it loses more than a third of its overall canopy volume as it may become stressed and decline in health.
- the remaining parts are structurally unstable and at risk of breaking later.
- the tree is too disfigured (in other words, you can’t stand to look at it).
Assessing Tree Risk
Not every damaged tree needs to be removed. If you have concerns, call a certified arborist and ask if they can perform a tree risk assessment. The arborist will make recommendations based on their findings along with your goals and concerns. The property owner is responsible for following professional recommendations about the tree. Questions to consider:
- If a branch failed, what would it hit?
- Is there a valuable structure or vehicle under the tree?
- Is it over a high traffic area where people walk or play?