As cold temperatures and snowy conditions hit Nebraskans later in the year than expected, officials are advising extra care when dealing with the resulting tree damage.
Eric Berg, community forestry and sustainable landscapes program leader at the Nebraska Forest Service, is sharing tips for dealing with those storm-damaged trees.
First, Berg says safety should always be a priority. Homeowners are urged to use caution around trees during and after extreme weather as there may be falling limbs and debris.
When inspecting trees for storm damage, look for splits or cracks in the trunk and major limbs, as well as disturbed soil around the trunk. This indicates a possible structural problem. If you suspect your tree sustained structural damage, contact a certified arborist and don't attempt to climb the tree to remove limbs.
It is also important to let professionals handle branches that may be interfering with power lines. Call your local power company to deal with these trees.
When removing fallen branches under the tree's canopy, watch for falling ice and limbs and wait for ice and snow to melt before pruning damaged branches that can be reached from the ground.
It is important to not fall for individuals that may be going door-to-door offering to take care your trees. Say no to anyone offering to top you tree as professional foresters and certified arborists agree that it is not good for the trees.
It is also advised to check staking and guying materials around newly planted trees. Many young trees may need to be straightened and restaked to stabilize the root ball and prevent further damage due to strong winds.
Find more information about caring for storm-damaged trees and proper tree care on the Nebraska Forest Service website: http://nfs.unl.edu/treecare.asp.