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Storm Damage in trees as seen through an experienced Arborist’s point of view!

May 18, 2018

Hiring the right company:

Storm damage in trees is a very upsetting situation for a property owner. There is the stress of the actual storm, the property disputes over whose tree fell on whose yard or possessions, and the inevitable negotiating with insurance adjusters; if that route is chosen. The last thing a person wants is to be concerned with is weather or not more damage is going to occur as a result of hiring the wrong tree company to remove the remainder of the tree.

Some jobs are simple. the tree or sections are just lying in the yard and cut them up and take away the debris., Although no one without formal training and proper safety equipment should use a chain saw, you don’t need to be too skilled to perform this work. Other situations however are very technical and need to be very well planed and executed to avoid further damage and protect all workers from harm.

At Kelly’s Tree Care we never accept a job if there is not a plan to protect all workers from harm, some companies will pay their workers hazard pay to subject themselves to potential danger without proper protection of the worker. Kelly’s Tree Care policy is if the danger can’t be averted through proper planning and execution, we will not subject our workers to danger by performing the work. That being said we have many years of experience with storm damage and there is rarely a time when we can’t do the work, there are almost always options to make the job safe for the worker.

Pre-planning and safety:

Recently Kelly’s Tree Care performed a storm damage job that had very complicated rigging used to secure large sections to prevent them from causing further damage to fences, sheds, garages, utility wires, child’s play set, as well ans under story plants. This tree posed several good opportunities for viewing our systematic approach to performing storm damaged tree removals.

The first thing we did is to re-evaluate the site and the current tree conditions, then formulate a work plan. As with any tree removal the goal is no piece is ever uncontrolled or removed without a pre-determined plan for the path of the piece to follow. After all workers were clear of the work plan and are located in safe positions we begin cutting in a controlled manner, always insuring everyone knows what will happen next.

The interesting part about this particular situation was that the very last piece to be cut and lowered to the ground needed to be secure prior to the first cut being made (4 hours prior to the actual cut used to free the last piece). In essence what this means is every single cut and action was planned prior to beginning work. That takes experience, knowledge, versatility, and a very skilled crew that has spent a lot of time working with each other with a clear understanding of their roles in this procedure.

The end result is the through the proper planning a section of large wood that was hovering over the desired obstacles was lowered safely to the ground, without even touching and of the desirable obstacles. It really does make you proud to see a client amazed with your skills at this point. When the entire job is complicated and all of the material is cleaned up and disposed of it is very hard to tell that the area was a disaster a few hours earlier.

Inspection and prevention is the best protection:

While not all storm damage tree failures can be prevented, most can be at least minimized through proper preventative care of your trees. Tree failures are usually a result of structural defect in the tree that is clearly identifiable and treatable to our Certified Arborists and/ or  Qualified Tree Risk Assessors that have been trained to look for these defects. From there we can diagnose treatments for the tree defects, when possible, to retain the tree in a more confident manner.

One common misconception is that tree health, or good foliage, is a sign of a strong tree. Health is seldom related to good tree structure. Often times the failed tree appears very healthy with lush leaves and vigorous growth rates, but the tree has very poor structure and could not support the loads it was subjected to during a weather event. As a preventative stategy one of our Professional Arborists can help you to determine the structural integrity of your trees.

In summary I hope this has helped you understand some of the difficult aspects of performing tree work as a result of storm damage, and why it is important  to know you have selected a qualified professional to work on your property. One that will do the work safely and efficiently.


Mike Watson

CO-Owner Kelly’s Tree Care Ltd.

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