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Cleaning Up Ice-Damaged Trees


Many trees were damaged over the winter from ice storms that swept across the state. Now that the sun’s out, trees are beginning to bud, and damage from those frigid temperatures is becoming more noticeable.

Officials say dangling, cracked branches are dangerous to people and may harbor insects and disease in the future if not removed.

John Ball is a Forest Health Specialist with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. He says with many beginning spring yard work, it is important to know whether it is safe to save a damaged tree, or if it should be removed.

“Trees that have had more than half their canopies removed probably should be taken down completely. The other thing too is if the trunk of the tree is split, and we’ve seen that numerous times, that’s hard to pull back together, and I’ve already seen people out there wrapping chains around a tree – absolutely the worst thing to do – because as the tree grows it’ll be strangled by those chains. Those trees should probably be removed,” says Ball.

Ball says while doing any type of yard work it is best to stay on the ground and use hand tools. He says tree and branch removal is dangerous, and it is wise to consult professionals. He adds that if you do hire a tree-removal company, make sure they have insurance, and always get the bid in writing. President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for seven counties in South Dakota to help with clean-up efforts.