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‘Everybody is slammed’: Arborists in high demand after spring snowstorm

By Chandler Watkins

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Arborists and tree removal services were out and busy Tuesday following historic snowfall.

Many companies were inundated with calls. Oregon Tree Care said they usually get around 80 calls a week, but they’ve received over 200 calls in the last day.

“It’s been complete havoc really,” Damien Carré, a certified arborist and owner of Oregon Tree Care, said. “Lots and lots of trees that were flowering or trees that were kind of already in a situation where they couldn’t handle the added weight and essentially failed. I almost got caught up in the West Hills area yesterday getting into a neighborhood and a tree actually fell right after I pulled in. Luckily, I’m an arborist so I have a chain saw and I got myself out. We’ve probably had 250 calls in the last 24 hours.”

FOX 12 caught up with Carré and his crew in northeast Portland taking down a large tree branch that snapped in a resident’s backyard. It fell on a fiber optic line and damaged a neighbor’s fence.

“Essentially had a cavity at the top side of the stem there from a really large old pruning cutting that caused a little bit of integrity issues,” Carré said. “As you can see, it’s a fairly large stem and it just couldn’t handle the snow load.”

On top of trees snapping under the weight of the snow, he also believes trees across the area have been under a lot of stress the last few years.

“We’ve had a lot of storms, hot weather,” Carré said. “I don’t think the trees are too happy right now. If we had seen the characteristics ahead of time, I could have identified a weak spot. That’s why we always say our best work is proactive pruning and risk mitigation that way. I do believe people with any trees, and anything this large for sure, but for most trees, have a certified arborist inspect them every other year or every year to help identify things like this. Invest in your trees and have them professionally assessed or take a risk. A lot of this could truly be avoided or greatly minimized with proactive assessment.”

While being proactive is the best approach according to Carré, he said now that trees and branches have fallen, he encourages residents to wait for a professional when it comes to larger issues.

“Be cautious,” Carré said. “The trees when they fail are under different kinds of tension and things like that, if someone is uneducated or not a professional, could really hurt themselves.”

He also urges people to monitor the ground around the trees.

“I’ve seen a lot of soil heaving or trees kind of uprooting,” Carré said. “Pay attention to the ground around the trees. If your trees already have sponge tissues at the base or there’s already been leeching, a smell or decay, pay attention to that.”

Carré said many arborists and tree removal companies will be busy this week. He urges people to remain patient.

“Everybody is slammed,” he said. “Our clients are very understanding knowing we will be busy most likely through the rest of this week. Some people think they can just do it themselves but try to be patient.”

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