Oklahoma Ice Storm Keeps Tree Trimmers Busy

Sunday, December 22nd 2013, 11:57 pm
By: News On 6

The ice storm has companies working overtime to clear fallen limbs and trees.

We won't be above freezing until Tuesday, so many more limbs are going to fall.

All across Green Country, yards are full of downed tree limbs and branches.

12/22/2013 Related Story: Crews Make Headway Restoring Power To Northeastern Oklahoma

Trees, complete with extra weight of the ice, are leaning dangerously close to power lines, homes and property.

"A lot of our old growth trees have been devastated from the ice storm in '07," certified arborist Shae Brown said. "They've already been depleted from all the nutrients they already have."

Brown said when ice accumulates on trees this time of year, there's nothing else the tree can do but break.

"In the winter, the trees are dormant so there's not as much sap flowing the wood to be able to make the tree as strong as it needs to be," she said.

Rickert Landscaping and Tree Service had crews out this weekend taking care of homeowners who were immediate danger of losing power or their homes from trees falling.

"There's a lot of tree limbs that have broken and it's taken out the dead tree branches first and the weaker-long tree branches second," Rickert said.

He said you need to be careful when choosing a tree removal service after large winter storms.

December Storm Coverage

Most tree companies carry their own liability insurance and are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.

"It's pretty easy for someone to buy a chainsaw and drive their pickup truck or car to somebody's house and say, 'Hey I can cut that tree off your house?'" Rickert said. "Well, what if they slip and fall? What if branch hits them in the head and they end up at Saint Francis? Who's going to pay the hospital bill and who is going to pay their lost wages for their family if they can't work anymore?"

We watched as Rickert's crew trimmed back a tree in a neighborhood near 51st and Yale. They were careful to make sure it didn't collapse on a neighbor's power line.

"We have wonderful neighbors," Carried Barnes said. "The Bennetts are awesome and got right on it and got their tree off of our line so quickly and couldn't ask for better neighbors."

No decision had been made about city-wide debris removal.

City crews will meet Monday to decide.