March 30, 2017 0

What to Do With Fallen Trees

Hardly a month goes by without our Colorado winds causing damage to trees. In the aftermath, property owners are left to clean up debris, trim broken branches, remove toppled trees, and—all too often—head for the emergency room. Fortunately, most of those injuries can be avoided with a little understanding of physics combined with a lot of common sense. 

Tree Branch Flexibility Risks

Live trees are very flexible—that’s how they survive most windstorms and snow loads. That flexibility is particularly present in the branches, which act like loaded springs when they have to carry the weight of the tree instead of swaying in the breeze. Add to that the fact that even small trees can be very heavy and you have the ingredients needed to make a pretty impressive catapult. That makes knowing how to dismantle a fallen tree crucial to safety.

Beware of Tension in Broken and Fallen Trees

Because of the tremendous tension and compression that can be present in broken or fallen trees, working on them can be hazardous and unpredictable. Making the wrong type of cut or cutting in the wrong place can cause forces to release with disastrous result. That’s why it’s almost always best to leave the work to a tree care professional.

Risk Assessment before Removal

Safe removal of downed trees starts with a careful assessment of risks. The tree can be in one of two basic conditions: broken or uprooted.

Broken trees remain attached to the main trunk and can be hanging freely or leaning against another tree or nearby object such as a building. If the broken part is leaning on or toward a power line, don’t go near it. Call your utility’s emergency number immediately. Even if it isn’t, a careful cutting plan is needed to prevent further damage and injury.

Uprooted trees present their own set of concerns. The root mass of a fully uprooted tree can weigh hundreds of pounds and can exert tremendous pressure to right itself as weight is removed from the upper parts of the tree. A partially uprooted tree’s roots can be loaded with tension and cause it to snap back upright. In either situation, the results can be lethal.

Call for Professional Help for Downed Trees on Your Property

Unless a tree is small or the damage is minor, property owners should leave the chainsaw in its case and call for professional help. Donovan Arborists offers a variety of tree services including a complete landscape maintenance package for property in the Denver area that includes care of trees, shrubs and turf. We’re happy to give free estimates to homeowners and property managers for any services you may need.

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