When I was a little girl, I attended Pleasant Grove Baptist Church with my mom and brother.
One year, an ice storm damaged some branches on the two big sycamore trees at the edge of the cemetery. I recall some discussion among the church members whether to cut the trees down – as they were advised by an expert – or to trim the damaged branches and give the trees a second chance.
Being a bit of a tree-hugger back then, I was glad when the adults decided to do the only wise thing by giving the trees a chance to recover.
That was at least 35 years ago and they’re still there.
When my husband Bud and I drove by the cemetery during the storm, I noticed the old trees – like every other tree in the county – were coated with ice. But they looked pretty solid.
The ice storm of 2009 has left the landscape looking like a war zone. Limbs fell on our homes, our vehicles and our fences. They knocked out our power, telephone and cable.
In our current state of annoyance, it is very tempting to cut down every remaining tree. Kill ’em all, in the words of Metallica.
Don’t do it.
Some of those trees are worth saving, such as young trees leaning less than 45 degrees and trees without damage to the trunk or major branches.
If you are trying to decide whether to saw or save a tree, here are a few tips from the Kentucky Division of Forestry:
Remove dead trees; trees leaning severely; trees with broken or cracked stems; trees with extensive broken roots; and any large dead or broken limbs that are still attached to the tree.
If you do the work yourself, use caution – and that means wearing safety gear.
Don’t work on ice-coated trees – let the ice melt. Don’t climb a ladder with a chainsaw. Do not climb into a heavily damaged tree and never touch any tree near electric wires. If there’s a question, call a professional.
When you replant, stay away from river birch, Bradford pears, silver maple, willows and white pine, according to Bill Fountain, horticulture specialist at the University of Kentucky.
For additional information about storm damaged trees, contact the Division of Forestry at 1-800-866-0555.