In wake of storms, tree recovery class to present options

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 4:59 p.m. CDT; updated 7:04 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

COLUMBIA — Strong storms early this month brought winds that snapped branches and knocked down whole trees, leaving residents to pick up shards of wood and replace stumps with saplings.

Those with downed trees or questions about replanting them can attend a seminar from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Activity and Recreation Center to learn some foliage fundamentals.

The class will cover responsible methods of debris cleanup, tree replanting, branch pruning and chainsaw safety in the wake of the storms that menaced parts of Columbia earlier this month, according to a news release.

Chad Herwald, Columbia's city arborist, will host the event. Herwald said that he had received about 75 calls from people wanting to talk to him about trees since the storm.

"I had to brainstorm, and I thought maybe it'd be easier to put on a presentation," Herwald said. Herwald will discuss city laws related to dangerous foliage and unhealthy timber; he will also introduce the night's guest speakers.

Austin Lampe, a certified arborist for the Jefferson City Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, will present information on proper chainsaw safety at the meeting. Lampe said his presentation will cover topics including proper protective gear and cutting techniques.

"I will have a chainsaw there to show people how to start and hold a chainsaw, but I won't be using the chainsaw at the presentation," Lampe said.

David Dittmer, a Columbia city forester, will speak about pruning branches and removing fragments of wood from property. Herwald said that while insurance companies may pay to remove a tree, they might not cover the cost of removing branches from rooftops or gutters.

Herwald added that Dittmer would also be talking about stump removal and how to eliminate hazards such as widow-makers, large overhanging branches that can fall from treetops.

Heavy storms can inflict irreparable damage to trees, Herwald said, so Nick Kuhn, a community forestry coordinator at the Missouri Department of Conservation, will talk about replanting options.

"Some people are going to want to plant a completely different species, maybe going from a shade tree to a full-sun tree," Herwald said.

He added that Kuhn had 20 years of forestry experience and had previously been the president of the Society of Municipal Arborists, a national urban forestry organization founded in 1964.

"These three guys?" Herwald said. "I'll tell you what, they're very talented foresters."

The presentation is a joint effort by the departments of Community Development and Public Works and the Missouri Community Forestry Council.

Supervising editor is Mary Ryan.

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