After the storm: Evaluating timber damage

Dec. 4, 2013
Contact Information:

Mary Hightower, Cooperative Extension Service Communications
501-671-2126 /

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Fast facts:
• Winter storm warning, watch in effect for much of Arkansas
• Ice up to .25 inch expected (See:

(300 words)
After the storm: Evaluating timber damage
(Newsrooms: With 1204 IceStorm-Fireplaces, 1204IceStorm-Trees)

LITTLE ROCK – Even after the storm is gone, ice and snow can leave dangers behind in the form of damaged trees, said Tamara Walkingstick, associate director of the Arkansas Forest Research Center and an extension forester for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

The first step following the storm is to determine whether the tree can be repaired through pruning, or if it should be removed completely.

“If the main trunk is completely broken or if the tree is uprooted, it should be removed,” she said.

Walkingstick said that trees with broken tops will require expert handling.

“Homeowners who are not trained to handle this kind of damage should not try to pull the tops down,” she said. “One cannot run faster than a tree top falls.”

Broken branches should be removed to the nearest branch or to the tree trunk.

“Never leave a ragged stub, because it’s an invitation to infection and insects,” Walkingstick said.

Remove large branches with three cuts to prevent splintering and peeling.

“Make the first cut upward from the bottom of the branch about 12 inches from the next branch, then cut about halfway through the branch, or until the saw begins to pitch,” she said. “Make the second cut 5 or 6 inches further out, and continue cutting until the branch falls.

“With a third cut remove the stub cleanly without peeling,” Walkingstick said.

“If you are not sure about the damage you see, contact a local nurseryman, professional tree service company or consulting urban forester for assistance,” she said. “If it is determined the tree is not worth saving, remove the tree as soon as possible.”

For more information about recovering storm damage, visit or contact your county extension office.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.