MDC foresters urge caution in removing downed tree limbs

News from the region
Kansas City
Published Date

Kansas City, Mo. – Many residents in the Kansas City and St. Joseph areas are dealing with damaged trees and downed limbs following the strong winds from the storm front that moved through on Dec. 15. Foresters for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) urge caution as people begin to assess and remove the damage.

Any damaged trees or limbs tangled in utility lines should be left for experts to clear. Utilities should be notified of problems. If there is no danger from electrical lines, limbs that are on a home or blocking driveway or street access can be removed.

Large limbs still connected to trees, downed trees, or split trees can pose unseen dangers for someone using a chainsaw. Their weight and tensions can cause kickbacks or falls in unexpected directions, said Chuck Conner, MDC community forester. MDC foresters recommend that property owners hire a certified arborist to remove damaged branches or trees.

“Tree care can be expensive,” Conner said, “but not as expensive as a hospital bill.”

MDC foresters recommend that anyone hiring workers to remove damaged trees or limbs get at least two estimates. Certified arborists have the best professional training for proper care and pruning of trees. Be cautious of non-professionals offering to remove tree damage. If a tree has lost more than 40 or 50 percent of its limbs, or if the trunk is split, the tree will likely need to be removed. A tree can recover from lesser damage.

When replacing trees, choose carefully to ensure that the tree is the right one in a good location to meet the property owner’s goals. Remember that native trees are hardy to western Missouri, and they also host the insects and produce seeds, berries, and nuts that that benefit wildlife.