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Chicago Urban Gardening

The day to day experiences of a University of Illinois Extension Urban Horticulture Educator in Chicago, Illinois

Trees: After the Storm

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Severe wind and rainstorms have caused major property and tree damage over the past couple of weeks for many homeowners throughout Illinois, reports Bob Frazee, University of Illinois Natural Resources Educator. If and when this situation hits your home, Frazee suggests the first step to take is to quickly assess the situation and decide what needs to be done - and by whom. Immediately notify police and your power company of any wires that are down on sidewalks or the street. Stay away, and keep other people away! In case of tree damage on your property, notify the phone or electric company of any problems with wires - and do not try to correct the situation yourself.

For removal of downed trees or repair of damaged ones, decide if you want to do the work or hire someone to do it for you. Tree work can be extremely dangerous and physically demanding. Frazee recommends a tree care company be used for the following situations: when the tree is large and requires high climbing; the tree is partially down (leaning on a structure or entangled with another tree); wires are involved or structures are endangered; major repair of the tree is necessary (cabling or bolting of a split fork); large limbs are still attached to the tree; or if the homeowner does not have the proper tools, knowledge, or health to do tree work.

After a storm, it is common in some areas for people to show up at your door offering their services to remove or repair trees. Do not be a victim. Frazee recommends you make sure you use only tree professionals who meet the following standards: are part of established businesses in the community or nearby areas and are working for the company rather than moonlighting; have a listing in the phone book, usually under "Tree Service"; are fully insured for property damage, personal liability, and worker compensation; and ideally, are members of a professional association of arborists.

Frazee recommends that homeowners get more than one estimate when possible. In case of tree removal, have a clear understanding about who removes the limbs and debris from the property, and whether or not the price includes stump removal and clean-up. He emphasizes that damaged trees do have some salvageable value, as firewood or chips, whether used by the homeowner or sold to others, and should be considered in the estimate.



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