Caution Urged As Iowans Clean Up Storm Damaged Trees

Statewide Iowa — State forestry experts are encouraging Iowans to proceed with caution as they are cleaning up the tree damage from Tuesday’s storms.

Emma Hanigan, urban forestry coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources suggests homeowners and volunteers wear safety equipment, including hand, foot, leg, eye, face, hearing, and head protection, and avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes while using a chainsaw.

She also says to be careful when working with trees and limbs that are snapped off, twisted and tangled together. The trunk or tree limbs may bind against the chainsaw.

If an oak tree is wounded from storm damage, the DNR says to treat the wounds immediately with a wound dressing such as acrylic paint to help prevent the spread of oak wilt. Hanigan explains that the paint will provide a barrier from the beetles that spread oak wilt, but will still allow the wound to breathe and start to heal. Find more information about oak wilt on the DNR webpage at

She says that after cleanup is complete, homeowners wanting to have their trees inspected should contact a professional, insured arborist. The arborist can examine trees for cracks or other issues that might have been overlooked. Routine tree care of young trees makes them more resilient long-term and decreases the likelihood of storm-related damage.

Hanigan says younger wind-thrown trees can be saved by staking and guying, but larger trees are less likely to recover.

She says when the time is right, homeowners who have lost trees are encouraged to replant.

The Iowa DNR has information and links to help homeowners identify and select a licensed arborist, and tips on chain saw safety, pruning and tree care and replanting online at



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