Stay smart following severe weather

By Roger DeGood - Guest Columnist

With thoughts to the recent severe weather, Stephanie Miller from the Division of Forestry sent the following message to all of the Tree Commissions under her purview. There was enough good information in it for homeowners, I thought it pertinent to include as a Special Edition of Twisted Twig. Below is the content of her message, slightly edited for clarity.

Hello Everyone,

Last night’s weather of 5/27/19 was a scary one for some of us with multiple tornadoes touching down last night. My heart is broken for those of you who lost your home or know someone who has. My best goes to the many of you who spent the night in your basement or bathtub with your family and are now working hard today to help with cleanup and recovery. Many are without electricity and phone service. You’re all in my thoughts.

You may be asking what you can do to help. Of course, the American Red Cross could always use monetary donations. My biggest advice is always to let the first responders do their jobs. Conditions are usually dangerous and safety is always the top priority. Once things are cleaned up and settled down a bit, please let me know if you need to schedule a time to look at any questionable public trees.

Here are some talking points that may be helpful in times like these whether this storm affected your community or not:

1. Chainsaws are cool, but they are one of the most dangerous tools in the world. If you love someone who’s thinking about using one, make sure they’re wearing ALL their personal protective equipment (hard hat, eye protection, ear protection, boots, chaps, gloves) and that they’ve been trained to use it properly. Think about it: arboriculture is one of the deadliest professions. Post storms are usually our most dangerous working conditions.

2. Don’t hire anyone who knocks on your door or hollers out their truck window to do tree work. This is prime time to prey on your vulnerability and it puts your citizens and their property at risk. Encourage your citizens, friends, and family to follow the guidelines in this link from the International Society of Arboriculture before you hire a tree worker.

3. Remind folks not to move firewood very far.

Aside from tornado damage, I’m always interested in hearing how your community trees fared with storms. It’s a good test for our storm preparedness and take note of how we can improve things. I’d love to hear of any trends you noticed (species, size, locations, associated tree defects.) Was there anything surprising to you. We have been talking about Storm Planning at conferences and workshops, but storm incidents like this help remind us how important it is for us all to be ready for anything.

Most truly,

Stephanie Miller

Regional Urban Forester

952-B Lima Avenue

Findlay, OH 45840

As you can tell, this message was directed to Tree Commissioners, however homeowners, The Swanton Tree Commission is always interested in what happens to your private urban forest. If you have experienced any damage, we would like to know. You can contact me at You all are the ultimate source of information to know if the policies and suggestions made here are helping. As always a good source of printed data is the Brochure Bank at Village Hall.

By Roger DeGood

Guest Columnist