State foresters offer tips for dealing with storm damaged trees

Dec 27, 2013

Augusta — The recent ice storm caused substantial damage across Maine. After heat, power, and other utilities have been restored, property owners will be faced with the issue of what to do with ice-covered trees.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Bureau of Forestry offers several tips and helpful guidance to property owners faced with question about what to do with ice-covered trees, limbs and branches.

  • Trees and branches on homes and around power lines — Homeowners obviously need to find immediate solutions for trees and branches on their homes. Branches and trees on power lines should be dealt with by calling local power companies. Even if a hanging limb is clear of power and utility wires, homeowners should assess the severity of the damage before trying to repair or remove the branch.
  • Trees covered with ice — Make a potentially dangerous situation even more so. Do not work around limbs that have broken off (or partially broken off) and are hung up in a tree crown. These can break off at any time with devastating force. Contact a licensed and insured arborist.
  • Injured trees requiring climbing or chainsaw work — Call a licensed arborist for help. Arborists are tree-care professionals who are trained to assess and correct storm damaged trees. They also have the experience needed to diagnose how much of a tree can or should be saved. Homeowners should be wary of those offering fly-by-night, emergency tree-cutting services.

Advice for trees that do not pose a threat:

  • Wait until the ice has melted to perform tree work. Do not try to remove it by shaking branches free. In most cases the safest course of action is to let nature take its course. Attempting to remove it while it is still covered with ice can cause more damage and breakage than leaving it alone. Ice accumulation is hardest on broad-leaved, deciduous trees, especially ones that had a defect.
  • Bent over trees, particularly birches, will often recover once the ice melts.

A list of licensed arborists that can be found at maine.gov/dacf/php/arborist/ArboristList.shtml. For more information, call the Maine Forest Service at 1-800-367-0223 or go to maineforestservice.

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