Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers post-storm tree recovery tips in wake of tornadoes

In the wake of a storm, the first priority is to protect life, safety and property. Once the emergency response has ended, addressing damage to neighborhood trees becomes central to long-term recovery.

In the aftermath of a major storm, the first impulse is often to clear away as much as possible. However, quick decisions can often result in removing trees that could have been saved. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry and the Arbor Day Foundation offer key tips to follow to ensure your safety and the recovery of your neighborhood trees:

  • Don’t panic. If a tree is not an immediate hazard, it is usually okay to wait a few weeks or months before making your final decision. Trees can recover from substantial damage, and what looks awful at first to an amateur may be judged as much less serious by an experienced professional.
  • Stay safe. Watch for hanging limbs, leaning trees and downed wires. Chainsaws are potentially dangerous if not used correctly and carefully. Always wear personal protective equipment and operate within your skill level.
  • Seek professionals. If large limbs are broken or hanging, or if high climbing or overhead chainsaw work is needed, hire a professional arborist. Arborists are especially important when a tree is leaning against wires, structures or other trees, if utility lines or structures are endangered or if a chainsaw is required. To find an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), visit treesaregood.org.
  • Watch out for scam artists. After a storm, it is common for people claiming to be tree specialists to show up offering their services. Get help from arborists who are insured and, if possible, ISA certified.
  • Follow best practices. If you decide to care for a damaged tree yourself, be sure to follow proper safety precautions and best practices. Resist the urge to over prune. Don’t worry if your tree appears unbalanced or naked. Trees heal quickly, grow new foliage and return to their natural beauty.
  • Prepare trees for future storms. With proper care, severe damage to trees and property can be prevented.

ODNR suggests hiring professionals to evaluate tree damage but be cautious of people knocking on doors offering to remove or repair your trees. Most of these door-to-door workers lack the proper training and expertise.

The Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov. Follow us on Instagram at @odnrforestry (instagram.com/odnrforestry).

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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For more information, contact:
Stephanie Leis, ODNR Office of Communications
Tyler Stevenson, ODNR Division of Forestry

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