December 13, 2013—COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Winter storms this month left parts of northeast
Texas with downed limbs and split trees. Power has been restored and attention
has now turned to the devastating effects the weather had on their trees.
Texas A&M Forest Service reminds homeowners to be careful with damaged
trees. Trunks and branches are heavy and should be considered dangerous until
they can be brought to the ground. Even limbs as small as two inches can cause
injury if they fall on someone. The only deaths from Hurricane Claudette that
hit South Texas in July, 2003 were from falling tree limbs.
“It is a common occurrence to have people survive storms and natural disasters
only to be injured while cleaning up afterwards,” said Pete Smith, state urban
forestry program manager. “We want people to be as safe as possible while
dealing with damaged and fallen trees.”
Take caution when pruning small branches and leave the heavy chainsaw work
to professionals. Look up for broken limbs that may fall, and look down to
avoid fallen power lines. Any damage to limbs within 10 ft. of power lines
needs the work of a professional arborist. They have the equipment and
knowledge needed, and are usually listed in the telephone book under “Tree
Service.” Ask for certification through the International Society of
Be cautious of tree services soliciting door to door. A qualified arborist
should have Workers’ Compensation insurance, liability insurance and experience
in the tree care industry. If their services include tree topping, beware. Tree
topping is the worst treatment for trees because it reduces the amount of
leaves the tree needs to recover from the storm on its own.
Check with your city or county officials to see if they are providing
assistance with disposal of tree debris from private property.
For further assistance, contact your local Texas
A&M Forest Service office or your county extension agent.
Read more about how to tell if your trees are damaged, what first aid is
available for trees, chainsaw safety and how to hire an arborist at http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=5252.
Pete Smith, Urban Forestry Program
(979) 204-9286, firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Texas A&M Forest Service
offices are closed Dec. 23- Jan. 1. Reporters seeking assistance should e-mail email@example.com, and the on-call communications specialist