State forestry experts are encouraging Iowans to proceed with caution as they begin cleaning up the tree damage from a Dec. 15 storm.
Emma Hanigan, urban forestry coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, suggests homeowners hire a tree care professional if they do not have the experience, ability, and equipment to safely prune their own tree.
Homeowners planning to do their own tree cleanup should wear safety equipment, including hand, foot, leg, eye, face, hearing and head protection, and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes while using a chainsaw.
“Be careful when working with trees and limbs that are snapped off, twisted and tangled together,” warns Hanigan. “The trunk or tree limbs may bind against the chainsaw.”
After cleanup is complete, homeowners wanting to have their trees inspected should contact a professional, insured arborist. The arborist can examine trees for cracks or other issues that might have been overlooked. Routine tree care of young trees makes them more resilient long term and decreases the likelihood of storm-related damage.
Hanigan said younger wind-thrown trees can be saved by staking and guying, but larger trees are less likely to recover.
When the time is right, homeowners who have lost trees are encouraged to replant.
The Iowa DNR has information and links to help homeowners identify and select a licensed arborist, and tips on chain saw safety, pruning and tree care and replanting online at https://www.iowadnr.gov/urbanforestry.