Top 5 Storm Damage Tree Cleanup Techniques
Storms can be extremely strong and violent wherever you may live, so it’s important to know how to clean up after them in a way that is safe and effective. Regardless of rain, snow, wind, or a combination, storms can do a number on your yard; debris can litter your yard, powerlines can come down, and the mess can be a major safety issue.
After the storm, the cleanup process starts, and that can take a long time, depending on the severity of the storm. Storm cleanup is backbreaking work that requires the right tools and the time, and on top of that, trees are cumbersome and can be dangerous.
*Tip: Before you head outside to tidy the mess, make sure there are no downed power lines or trees leaning on power lines. And if there is ice or snow, wait for that to melt before beginning.
Listed below are the top 5 clean up tips for trees after a storm has hit your area.
1. Check Entire Yard First
The first thing you really need to do when the storm has passed is just surveying the damage done to your yard. After a severe storm, there is a chance that danger lurks in your yard in places where you might not see it. Downed branches can hide power lines, animals that are usually under cover may come out, and structural damage may have occurred.
Take note of everything you see, including broken windows, power lines, fallen trees, water pooling, and damage to hardscapes, such as bricks or concrete. Do not touch anything right away. You want to see the full extent of the damage so that you can understand where you want to start.
All homeowners are advised to take photos of any damage because it will help when contacting your home insurance company. They will want those pictures and you want to reach out before you move or change anything just to be sure.
2. Inspect the Tree Damage
After storms, your tree may pose a safety risk–especially if you see large fallen branches, a split tree trunk or a broken tree top. If there are trees down on your property, you may need to jump into action. The primary thing you need to do is check to ensure that your tree hasn’t pulled down any power lines with it.
If it has, DO NOT touch the tree, as it can be charged. Call your electric company first to see what they suggest you do – it is likely they will send someone to assess the damage.
3. Pick Up The Tree Debris That You Can
After a strong storm, the most you can expect is a lot of tree debris. After you have surveyed your property, you’ll want to clear up what you can. Pick up small twigs, leaves, and similar debris. Also, clean up smaller, damaged branches from trees once you have cleared that there are no major structural damages to the tree. With tree trimming tools, remove all small damaged branches that are within reach.
Once you have cleaned up, you may do with the debris however you so please. When dry, branches make excellent firewood. Or see if your local township will turn them into wood chips. As for the leaves, compost them and work them into the soil to improve it.
4. Clear Any Dangerous Debris
Next, you want to clean up anything that might cause damage to someone. Windows, doors, bird feeders, and other lawn ornaments that have glass might have broken, so you’ll want to be careful and pick up what you can. If you’re able, clear debris from the road and your walkways – as long as you can safely remove it by yourself. Remember to wear protective gear!
5. Do not try to do it all yourself.
After a severe storm, there is only so much you can handle on your own. It’s recommended that you reach out to a professional for damages that you can’t handle to ensure your safety. Things to look out for that should ensure a call to a professional are:
- Large broken or hanging branches where overhead chainsaw work is needed.
- If a tree is uprooted or downed, it can create an unnatural pattern of pressure points and tension.
- If branches are too close or touching utility lines, report immediately to your local utility company. NEVER attempt to move downed utility lines.
- Any task you have not been properly trained to handle or are uncomfortable undertaking.