Fallen tree removal service can't make it? There are more options

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | 5:25 p.m. CST; updated 5:54 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 27, 2013

COLUMBIA — Business is good for tree removal services after Tuesday's snowstorm.

Arthur Ratliff Tree and Stump Removal LLC received 15 to 20 calls Tuesday despite a problem with its voicemail, owner Scott Ratliff said.

Because of the severity of the weather, though, his employees have been addressing only emergencies. On Tuesday, they removed limbs in front of a door so the owner could leave his house and also cleared a road, but the jobs are incomplete; they will finish them when the weather improves.

In a Wednesday news release, Columbia Public Works presented three options for disposing of fallen tree limbs:

  • Curbside pickup on trash day: Limbs must be bundled and not exceed 4 feet in length, 2 feet in diameter and 50 pounds. Trash pickup will be delayed by one day for the remainder of the week.
  • Self-hauled no-charge pickup: Trees and limbs can be taken to the compost facility at the Columbia Sanitary Landfill, located at 5700 Peabody Road; the mulch site at Capen Park Drive, located off Rock Quarry Road south of Stadium Boulevard; and the mulch site at Parkside Drive, located off Creasy Springs Road.
  • Contracted services: Several contracted services are available in the Columbia area. Columbia Public Works advises customers to check the company's reputation, agree on a price in writing before beginning work and remember they might not be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency because no disaster declaration has been issued. Customers who think they might be victims of price gouging can call the Missouri state attorney general's consumer protection hotline at 800-392-8222.

Some fallen trees have damaged homes, said Chris Haubner, owner of Tree Wizard Inc. On Tuesday, a giant hickory fell across a service wire, going through a house on Edgewood Avenue.

Ratliff said trees with previous damage, such as disease or root rot, are weaker than healthy trees and are more likely to fall during a storm.

Caring for trees throughout the year can prevent damage during storms, Ratliff said. Arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture undergo training to learn to identify damaged trees.

Residents can help save trees with broken limbs by pruning branches, said Rose-Marie Muzika, a professor in MU's forestry department.

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.

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