UACES Facebook Saturated ground, ice weight still mean danger of falling trees, branches

Saturated ground, ice weight still mean danger of falling trees, branches

Fast Facts

  • Winter weather advisory in effect for Little Rock warning area until 2 a.m. Saturday
  • Snow up to 3 inches possible in forecast area

LITTLE ROCK – Even though the storm system that encased many parts of Arkansas in ice has past, there is still potential for damage from falling trees and limbs, Tamara Walkingstick, associate director of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, said Friday.

“There are two factors that make the current situation dangerous,” she said. “First, the continued cold has meant that the ice buildup has remained in branches and that translates into continued pressure, weight and stress on the tree. Secondly, before the ice storm, the ground had a good soaking rain, softening the soil and allowing for trees to topple more easily.”

With the possibility of more snow, more weight on trees may mean more toppling timber. The National Weather Service office in Little Rock issued a winter weather advisory through 2 a.m. Saturday. Some places in Arkansas were expecting up to 3 inches of snow with a system moving into state Friday afternoon.

Until there’s a warm up and the ice disappears, homeowners should carefully examine any branches or trees that could pose an immediate threat to life and limb.

Homeowners should also have realistic expectations about their abilities to cut fallen trees and limbs safely.

“When trees are bent and loaded with ice, and suddenly all that pressure is relieved through a saw cut, the tree can snap up quickly and the person cutting can be injured by the tree and by flying shards of ice,” she said.

One method is to begin by taking the limbs off tree to lighten the load, and work back toward the trunk. However, when in doubt, hire a professional to do the cleanup work, she said. 

For more information on what to do after an ice storm, visit http://www.uaex.edu/environment-nature/disaster/storm-damage.aspx or contact your county extension office.

The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

February 7, 2014

By Mary Hightower 
Cooperative Extension Service
U of A Division System of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Extension Communications Specialist
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu

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