ORLANDO, Fla. – Tree removal services are keeping busy ahead of Elsa’s potential to bring tropical force winds and heavy rain to parts of Central Florida and one of the major safety concerns are flying tree limbs and trees toppling over.
“Usually, whenever they announce a storm especially if the trajectory is to come to Florida, the phones just go off the hook,” Iván Arocha, the owner of Forrest Stump Tree Services in Orlando said. “The biggest thing is to keep your trees pruned and properly pruned.”
Pruning is another word for trimming. As the storm approaches, high winds are a concern because they cause flying debris like tree limbs and can even uproot trees.
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“It could be catastrophic. I mean it’s hard to say what level of damage a tree is gonna cause. Sometimes if the whole tree uproots it could come down very slow it could actually rest on a home and do very minimal damage,” Arocha said.
Just hours before the storm hits his team removed a large tree from the backyard of a home in Orlando. A homeowner told Arocha they had a tree with limbs falling off.
Arocha said that’s an indication that a tree could be weak.
“Some of the things that we look for as arborists is co-dominating stems and those are basically points of failures that during heavy rainstorms or heavy winds can fail,” he said. “sometimes trees look green and healthy but they could be infested with mistletoe that if you don’t know what you’re looking for you may not even notice it and mistletoe is a parasite that can kill a tree from the inside.”
Arocha also said homeowners should be aware to not over trim because it could be counterproductive.
“You want the tree thinned out so there’s less chances of the tree blowing over in heavy storms but at the same time you don’t want to cause any internal damage by taking too much of the green foliage off,” he said.
Arocha said when looking for a tree removing company, make sure they are not just licensed and certified but that they have worker’s compensation as well in case of an accident, and if you notice workers using spikes to climb a tree, that’s actually bad for the tree and it’s when you know if the company is doing a proper job.
The latest track from the National Hurricane Center predicts that Elsa will strengthen into a hurricane south of the Tampa Bay area, with a projected landfall early Wednesday near the Big Bend area of Florida.