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Dallas Morning News - June 26, 2019

Busted Up and Fallen Trees


Storms cause lots of tree damage in north Texas – as you know. For cleanup work not finished this time or for the next event, here are some tips – and observations.


When deciding whether to try removing a downed tree or branches yourself, inspect the situation and give it some careful thought before starting the work. If utility lines are involved assume the line is energized and stay away. Call the utility company and professional tree people immediately. Don’t touch anything near the downed line and make sure others don’t go near the line.


Incorrect release of a branch under tension can cause serious injuries.


Next consider the tree itself. If the work can be done from the ground, cut away small limbs that are under no pressure so you can see what else needs to be done. If any of the work requires you to leave the ground, forget it and call a tree care professional. Also, never attempt any tree work from a ladder.


Even small trees bent and under tension can be extremely hazardous. Do not cut any wood that is under tension by being bent over or trapped under something. Releasing the tension incorrectly can cause serious injuries.


Do not use a chain saw for tree removal unless you have experience using a chainsaw. Even tree care pros face risk of injury using chain saws. Tree and branch removals are very unpredictable. Don’t take unnecessary chances! Bottom line - if you unsure at all, call in a tree care professional:


What I learned in examining these latest fallen trees is that a high percentage of the ones down had a weakness. Many had rot inside the trunk that in most cases appeared to have started with physical damage to the base of the tree. The storm we had was violent, soil moisture was excessive and some healthy tree were hurt, but the bulk of the worse damage was on compromised trees. I saw another thing - weak to almost no roots on some big trees.



Advice for the future. We can’t totally prevent the heavy rain, saturated soil and winds, but keeping the trees as healthy and tough as possible will definitely help prevent future damage. Stop watering so much. Let the soil dry out between watering. Remove mulch and soil from the bases of trees so that the flares are showing. Use gentle organic fertilizers to help build soil health that will produce vigorous, strong roots. And, do not over-prune your trees



Most, if not all, the cities are picking up the storm debris and taking to landfills. Landscape companies and arborists are helping with this cleanup. Hopefully much of the debris is being chipped or ground into mulch for reuse in landscaping and gardening.





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