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Avoid these tree removal mistakes ahead of an ice storm

Posted at 5:19 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 18:04:03-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The threat of more snow and ice for Central Virginia has some homeowners taking a closer look at their trees. The set up late Wednesday night into Thursday morning will be favorable for another round of significant freezing rain and likely an ice storm.

Last weekend’s winter storm toppled trees onto homes and power lines forcing some families to go without electricity for days.

C.S. Flournoy Inc. crews spent Tuesday removing a fallen tree in a Tuckahoe neighborhood.

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Owner Steve Flournoy said it was not too late to perform tree maintenance ahead of the impending storm, but warned to watch out for potential dangers.

“Wires are serious business, and we don’t want anybody to get hurt trying to do it themselves when they’re too close to the wire. Common sense is the rule,” Flournoy explained.

He predicted the forecasted ice storm could knock over more trees and branches that didn’t come down over the weekend.

“We are often shocked at these big looming trees that are over these houses. We just shake our heads that they’re dangerous and stuff is going to fall from them especially in an ice storm,” Flournoy stated.

Joel Koci is a board-certified master arborist and is Tree Risk Assessment Qualified by the International Society of Arborists.

He also serves as Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Urban Forestry Association Specialist at Virginia State University.

Koci cautioned against inexperienced individuals attempting to cut down a tree by themselves.

“If you’re not familiar with it you could get into some major trouble,” he explained. “Most injuries in logging come from on the ground with wood that’s under extreme stress and torque.”

Koci urged homeowners to allow a licensed tree removal expert to cut down a potentially dangerous tree.

“If it’s not any immediate imminent danger to any property leave it alone, then let a professional come by,” Koci said. “I’ve put ropes around trees to hold the piece so it doesn’t do any damage to the structure or cause bodily injury and can come back to it when things have settled down a little bit.”

Anyone with tree issues can reach out to their locality’s extension office for a list of experienced and approved tree removers.

Both experts agreed that tree maintenance is required year-round rather than waiting until days before a winter storm.