These storms’ powerful winds and lightning can make trees fall, resulting in a huge mess from broken power lines to damaged houses. Hopefully, the worst of your storm damage is a few twigs in your yard. If not, here are some tips for dealing with the aftermath of a storm.
1. Always be aware of your surroundings.
There are many hazards after a storm hits. So watch your step for any broken glass, exposed nails, or downed power lines. If you see downed power lines, call the police and utility company right away. If you smell any odd odor -- such as a rotten egg smell -- turn off your gas, open your windows, and get out of the house immediately in case of a gas leak.
2. Survey the damage.
If it’s nighttime when you are inspecting, make sure to use a flashlight. Any open flame in a hazardous environment could result in a fire or explosion - and we don’t want that! When you are inspecting your yard, look for these things:
Broken or Damaged Branches - Get your pruners and small saws out to prune off any broken or damaged branches to about ¼ to ½ inch away from the tree’s trunk. This will help your tree heal faster.
Defoliation - Plants can potentially regrow their foliage if it’s right around the growing season. If it’s not around this peak season, your trees will probably have limited blooming or foliage. As long as you keep an eye on your tree, it should return to normal by the next growing season.
Leaning Trees - Wind from a storm can affect your trees’ structure. Young and small trees can usually be straightened out with some stakes and wire. Older trees may require heavy machinery to do the job. Your local arborist can do this for you.
Cracked Trees - This is probably the worst sign for your trees’ health. A tree with a cracked trunk has a very small chance of living. A local arborist can come out and offer advice on how to fix or remove any tree in your yard.
3. Report any damage.
If there are any damages to your property, take pictures and contact your insurance agency. The best way to ensure a solid price on repairs is to contact multiple contractors and get several repair estimates. If they cannot give you all of their contact and business info, do not hire them. Sadly, some people do take advantage of these stressful situations and claim to be a fake contractor to get money. This is especially obvious if a contractor is going door-to-door, or has a handwritten contract. It is best to choose professionals like electricians or arborists to handle storm damage for you. Doing these fix-up projects yourself can be very dangerous.
3. Work slowly.
Even though the storm made the damage to your yard in one day, you probably cannot fix the damages it left in the same amount of time. Try not to get burnt out when returning your yard to normal. Also, its important to make sure that your area is cleared of any gas leaks or electrical issues before starting a fire to burn debris. Otherwise, you could create a whole other disaster.
Thinking smart and taking things slow is key for a safe clean up. If you have any further questions about your trees or yard, contact your local arborist.