KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Take caution before you begin to clean up those damaged trees and downed limbs following the severe weather outbreak that moved across multiple states Wednesday evening.
The Missouri Department of Conservation is asking you to follow a few safety tips before assessing and removing the damage.
Any trees or limbs that are tangled in utility lines should be left for experts to clear. You should also contact any utility companies if there are problems.
The MDC said limbs that are on a home or blocking driveway or street access can be removed if there is no danger from electrical lines.
If you are using a chainsaw, there are life-saving warnings you need to follow.
MDC Community Forester Chuck Conner said the weight and tension from large limbs still connected to trees, downed trees, or split trees can pose unseen dangers. They can cause kickbacks or falls in unexpected directions.
Homeowners should hire a certified arborist to remove damaged branches or trees.
"Tree care can be expensive, but not as expensive as a hospital bill," Conner said.
If you are hiring workers to remove damaged trees or limbs, you should get at least two estimates.
Make sure they are certified arborists, because they have the best professional training for proper care and pruning of trees.
If a tree has lost more than 40 or 50 percent of its limbs, or if the trunk is split, the tree will likely need to be removed, the MDC said.
If you are looking to replace a damaged tree, make sure it is placed in a good location to meet your goals. The MDC said that native trees are hardy to western Missouri, and they also host the insects and produce seeds, berries, and nuts that that benefit wildlife.