Snow, ice, tornadoes, hail and high-velocity winds are just a few of the natural perils Missouri’s trees experience. When storms damage trees, cleanup and recovery can be bewildering. Some injured trees can be treated and repaired to maintain their health and value to your home. Others should be removed. Here are some tips that will help you make the right decisions for your trees.
Damaged trees often are tangled with overhead or down utility lines, creating a dangerous situation. Under no circumstances should you remove limbs that have electrical lines running through them. Treat all lines as if they were live; do not touch or approach them.
If there is no danger from electric lines, the first step is to remove trees or limbs that have fallen on your home or are blocking access. Look for hanging limbs up in the tree that could drop on your home or family.
Selecting an Arborist
When hiring someone to work on your trees, be sure you use a certified, experienced professional arborist. Here are some tips to help you find a qualified person in your area:
- Check the phone directory--if they’re listed then you’ll be able to find them later if something goes awry.
- Ask for proof of certification, worker’s compensation and liability insurance.
- Ask for local references.
- Do not accept take-it-now deals; get multiple estimates for your job.
- A conscientious arborist will not use climbing spikes unless the tree is to be removed or someone is hurt.
- Good arborists do not recommend topping.
Tips for Salvaging Downed Timber
Woodland trees blown down during a storm can actually yield income, albeit less than that of a normal timber harvest because of the time and difficulty of working in the jumble of logs.
While salvaging downed trees doesn't require the services of a professional forester, you should take steps to protect your land's soil and water resources. Haul roads and skid trails used to remove logs from the woods should be properly located and then rehabilitated after the sale is complete. To protect your soil and water, we recommend you use loggers that have completed the Missouri Forest Products Association’s Professional Timber Harvester training course.
For a storm salvage sale, it is usually best for to be paid on a percentage of sawmill receipts or on a lump-sum basis. Be sure to specify whatever payment method you and your logger agree upon in a timber sale contract, which will protect you both. In some cases, a consulting forester can help you negotiate a competitive price for your trees. Click here to find a directory of consulting foresters.
Experts Agree: Don’t Top Your Tree!
Under no circumstance should trees be topped. This drastic pruning practice is also called de-horning, hat racking or stubbing back. Topping creates large wounds that rarely seal and are a convenient entry point for insects and decay. In addition, such radical pruning results in a profusion of sucker sprouts. These fast growing shoots are the first to go in the next storm. For more information on tree topping call toll-free 1-877-40NO-TOP (1-877-406-6867).