The Central Virginian

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Prepare your trees for potential ice storm

Posted on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

With an ice storm predicted to hit portions of Virginia this Sunday, Dec. 8, homeowners should begin preparations now to be ready for the inclement weather.  One major concern with an ice storm that may not first come to mind is the impact it will have on a homeowner’s or a landowner’s trees.  When trees get coated with ice, the extra weight can break branches large and small.  These broken branches can fall on someone’s house, vehicle, garage, barn, power lines or even another person.

According to officials at the Virginia Department of Forestry, there are some things you can do to lessen the chances that an ice storm will wreak havoc on your property.

“Folks have a couple of days to take preventative action,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection.  “Take a few moments while the weather is nice and inspect your trees.  If you see any rotting or excessively bent branches, remove them now.  Alert the power company if you see branches that could interfere with power lines.

Miller said some tree species, such as silver maple, willow, cherry and Bradford pear, have more brittle wood and are more likely to break under the weight of ice.  Other species, such as white oak, sweet gum, black gum and baldcypress, typically don’t have as many storm-related problems.

If you are unable to safely cut down a tree or remove a large branch that could fall during an ice storm, contact a competent, certified arborist.

“Owning a pickup truck and a chainsaw does not make someone automatically qualified to handle this kind of work,” Miller said.  “A certified arborist has a demonstrated level of skill and credibility as well as insurance for personal and property damage and worker’s compensation – things that will protect a homeowner while the work is being done.”

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