Hurricane Sandy churned the Atlantic Ocean as it barreled northward bringing fierce winds, drenching rains and flooding to the nation’s Northeast, where officials warned residents to stay home and ordered those along coastlines to head to high ground.
“Get out before you can’t,” Connecticut’s governor, Dannel Malloy, told residents of his state early Monday.
New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie was more blunt: “Don’t be stupid. Get out.”
Christie said Monday that there was already flooding along the Barrier Islands and said the flooding will increase later in the day as the high tide rolls in. In addition, there were 35,000 people without power in the state.
Sandy, described as a behemoth superstorm that is strengthening as it moves toward land, was about 300 miles southeast of New York at 8 a.m., according to the National Hurricane Center. The center of the storm is expected to hit in the mid-Atlantic coast around southern New Jersey and is expected to impact some 50 million people in the nation’s most heavily populated corridor.
Sandy is belting sustained winds of more than 85 mph with higher gusts and is moving north and westward at about 20 mph.
Part of the problem was Sandy’s sheer size. Hurricane-force winds were clocked up to 175 miles from the storm’s center, with tropical storm-force winds blowing as much as 485 miles from the center, meteorologists said.
New York’s harbor, bridges and major roads–normally a frenzy of Monday morning commuters–were quiet as the sun rose. Whitecaps dotted the waters around the Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan, and in the East and Hudson rivers, where all ferry service was halted. Street signs shuddered in the wind, which howled as it roared down the narrow avenues of Manhattan, which were turned into wind tunnels.
Schools were ordered shut across several states and even the federal government closed down, as did Wall Street trading. Transportation was at a crawl because of bridge and tunnel closures and thousands of flights were canceled.
As many as half a million people–10% of the region’s population–were warned by their elected leaders to head to high ground before the worst of the weather hits.
Forecasters said the hurricane could blow ashore Monday night or early Tuesday along the New Jersey coast, then cut across into Pennsylvania and travel up through New York on Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of people that are going to be under the impacts of this,” Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate said on “CBS This Morning” on Monday. “You know, we’ve got blizzard warnings as far west as West Virginia, Appalachian Mountains, but I think the biggest concern right now are the people in the evacuation areas. They’re going to face the most immediate threats with the storm surge.”
Forecasters said they expect Sandy to hit and then slow down over land, meaning that fierce winds and lashing rains could continue for days, testing utilities, shelters, provisions and the patience of millions of residents.
It isn’t just Sandy that was the problem. Other storms, one from the West and cold air from Canada, are expected to merge with the hurricane as the trio of ill winds blow northward.
“This is not a typical storm,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett told reporters on Monday. “This is a hurricane wrapped in a nor’easter.’’
Complicating the situation is the expected surge of water pushed by winds onto the shores along the Atlantic. A full moon means that tides will be at the highest. In some areas, surges of 4 to 12 feet are expected, more than enough to flood low-lying regions, mainly in New York and New Jersey. Officials warned that the seawater could flood lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and cripple the electrical and communications lines. Power outages across the region could last days.
Officials have been preparing for days for the onslaught of the storm, which roared across the Caribbean last week, killing at least 60 people. Officials began moving utility crews and supplies over the weekend. Warnings crossed partisan lines, as Republican and Democrat governors declared states of emergency, ordered evacuations and told people who could, to stay home.
“If you don’t evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you. This is a serious and dangerous storm,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned.
Still, some people were resisting the evacuation orders, instead opting to pile sandbags in front of doors, boarding windows with wood planks, and emptying store shelves of food and water.
Pennsylvania is blessed with many trees—a forest of green in the spring and summer; a blanket of warm reds and brilliant yellows in the fall. We, in fact, have so many trees that unfortunately we hardly blink when an archaic tree mutilating practice takes place.
An inappropriate tree cut-back such as topping should not be confused with proper pruning. Careful selective pruning retains a tree’s natural shape and beauty. On the other hand, topped trees are easy to spot – the tree’s natural shape has been destroyed, while a properly pruned tree looks as if no work has been done at all. With proper pruning, an arborist spends most of the time carefully selecting and removing branches.
Topping is a procedure that drastically removes or cuts back large branches in mature trees. The tree is pruned or sheared much the way a hedge is cut, leaving large exposed stubs. The practice is also known as heading, stubbing, tipping, lopping, or hat racking. Regardless of what it’s called, topping is ugly, expensive and dangerous.
Homeowners often consider topping an acceptable practice and “the right thing to do” when they need to make trees smaller or reduce homeowner liability. Ironically, tree topping does just the opposite. The severe, harsh cutting only makes the tree grow back faster in the form of ugly sprouts, which are much weaker and more susceptible to disease, insects and rot. Weakened trees are much more likely to fall during storms and thus become very hazardous. If a tree needs to be topped it is already a hazard and should be removed and a new tree planted in its place.
Topping can cost long term, too. Rarely, if ever, is it a one-time expense. Because of the fast re-growth, many trees are topped every few years. While healthy trees increase property values by upwards of 20 percent, topped trees decrease real estate values by 20-100 percent! Another factor is topped trees can become a liability. An unhealthy tree, full of disease and decay is an accident waiting to happen; potentially costing thousands and millions of dollars in property damage or bodily injury.
Consumers should beware of people who suggest they ‘top’ a tree. Numerous people have found seasonal work in providing mulch, firewood and in the pruning and maintenance of established trees. When a severe storm devastates a community, or a rash of spring storms leaves a neighborhood splattered with broken limbs and fallen trees, the chainsaw wielders appear, often with little or no understanding of how trees should be pruned properly.
“Topping is a quick way to make a buck,” said Adam Downing, President of the Virginia Urban Forest Council (Trees Virginia). Some people say utility companies also are culprits. However, most companies are eager to help consumers pick the right tree for the right spot and instruct them on how to prune it properly under power lines. Dominion Power has a list of suggested plants for right-of-way plantings at http://www.dom.com/about/safety/tree.jsp. Dr. Bonnie Appleton, Virginia Tech Extension Service, has also developed a great publication, “Trees and Shrubs for Overhead Utility Easements,” which can be found online at http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/trees/430-029/430-029.html.
Every species of tree has different height, width and spacing needs in order to grow into a healthy mature tree. Carefully matching tree selection with site conditions – proximity to other trees, buildings or above-ground utilities – can prevent problems before they occur and will eliminate the need to take harmful, drastic measures. Many utility companies and forestry agencies provide guidelines for planting trees and recommendations of tree species to fit your needs.
Lin Diacont, President of the Virginia Green Industry Council, says “You have the ability – and the responsibility – to prevent future problems by applying the practice of the right tree in the right place.” With the right selection, proper annual trimming, adequate water and mulching, these suggested trees will increase property value, reduce heating and air-conditioning costs and provide a natural habitat for birds and small animals. Trees are a long-term investment.
As Pennsylvanians, we are blessed to have plentiful trees that provide us with beauty, shade, a sanctuary for birds and small animals, and keep our air cleaner and reduce energy needs. And, as consumers, we have the power to squash the topping practice before more uninformed people with chainsaws kill off our cherished trees.
The Go Green column is brought to you by the Virginia Green Industry Council and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
About the Author: Jeff Miller, founder of Horticulture Management Associates LLC, serves as the Executive Director for the VA Green Industry Council, www.virginiagardening.com. Contributing a diverse background of nursery, greenhouse and landscape experience, Miller challenges all to ‘GoGreen’. Contact him at 540-382-0943 or email info@VirginiaGreen.org . Together, let’s ‘GoGreen’!
People top trees for many reasons, all of them connected to falsehoods and misconceptions.
Myth: Topping a tree will reduce storm damage and make the tree easier to maintain.
Truth: Topped trees can regain their original height in as fast as 2 years. The fast growing, extremely long and loosely attached shoots caused by topping may be more susceptible to breakage and storm damage. Ultimately, a topped tree requires more attention in the future than a properly pruned tree.
Myth: Topping invigorates a tree.
Truth: Topping immediately injures a tree and starts it on a downward spiral. Topping wounds expose the tree to decay and invasion from insects and disease. Also, the loss of foliage starves the tree, which weakens the roots, reducing the tree’s structural strength. While a tree may survive topping, its life span will be significantly reduced.
Myth: Topped trees will add value to your property.
Truth: Topped trees lack natural beauty and may reduce your property values. Also, a topped tree can become hazardous and cause property damage, making it a liability.
As a homeowner, you must educate yourself and make wise choices to protect your home and property – including your trees. A tree is a valuable asset. As a long-term investment, trees require careful decisions and the occasional advice and service of a professional. Here’s what you can do to protect your trees:
• Hire only competent, insured and certified tree care professionals.
• When seeking a tree service, check the company’s topping policy. If they say top, don’t let them near your trees. (Hint-using the “word” top, doesn’t necessarily mean the action especially if speaking with a tree service that has been around a long time. Don’t be afraid to ask ” Are you truly Topping or do you mean Crown Reducing/Restoration. The correct term is Drop-Crotch Cutting)
• Most importantly, never let yourself be pressured by bargains. The old saying, “you get what you pay for” truly applies here.
Mid-Atlantic Chapter-International Society of Arboriculture (MAC-ISA), (703)753.0499, http://www.mac-isa.org/
International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), 217-355-9411, www.isa-arbor.com
Tree Care Industry Association, 603-314-5380, www.natlarb.com
National Arbor Day Foundation, 402-474-5655, www.arborday.org
Grizzly Tree Service is first and foremost your local tree service. However, owner Terry Booz has long been a hobbyist when it comes to woodworking. Customers have been coming to Terry for their lumber needs for more than 30 years.
Whether you are looking for rough cut lumber or finished wood, Grizzly Tree Service probably has it in stock. If you typically shop at Home Depot or similar places for your project needs you’ll find a better quality and a better price here at Grizzly Tree Service.
With his Woodmizer Saw Mill, Terry Booz mills the logs he collects out of the love for woodworking and a respect for our natural resources.
Feel free to call or email us the species and sizing you are looking for. We have most of the local hardwoods in stock.
Do you want to add a special look and warm feeling of custom hardwood flooring to your home? We have also recently expanded our business to include custom hardwood flooring. Winter is a perfect time for these projects. Give us call no matter how big or small your hardwood lumber needs are.
We also have the necessary training & equipment to grind out any size stump. Cabling provides trees with additional structural support and may be necessary due to safety considerations or to prolong a tree’s life. We utilize quality materials; sound engineering principles and proper installation methods.
The main purpose of direct cabling is to functionally tie together the crown of the tree as a cohesive unit to withstand the stresses and strains of wind, ice, and the weight of limbs and foliage. In direct cabling, two limbs at least 6â€ in diameter or more are connected to each other by means of a copper-covered steel cable to provide equivalent support to both branches. This job is not for amateurs but should be skillfully done by a qualified professional.
Crown Restoration pruning should improve the structure, form and appearance of trees which have been severely headed, vandalized, or storm damaged. Reduction decreases the height and/or spread of a tree canopy by pruning back leaders. It is important to examine the ability of a species to sustain this type of pruning. Crown reduction is probably the most common type of trimming recommended for the urban environment. Crown reduction is the thinning of the ends of various limbs or central stems for the purpose of lightening a certain part of a tree or the entire canopy. It is a safeguard against trees falling over in storms and limbs breaking in high winds or high load conditions. Crown reduction is a perfect solution for those who wish to keep trees that are especially close to their house or business and do not feel that trimming will suffice to ensure the trees health and safety. Crown reduction focuses on encouraging growth lower in the canopy, thus keeping the center of gravity low over the long-term. Crown reduction differs from the standard limbing up style of trimming in that the lower branches are retained as weight is removed above. However, keep in mind that limbs should not be allowed to touch a structure. They should be kept a few feet from roofs and gutters to allow for proper airflow and prevent mold and mildew. This method is called Drop Crotch Pruning.
While it is important to our environment to preserve this natural resource sometimes due to inappropriate locations, disease and high risk, tree removal is necessary.
Many tree removal projects are routine, while others will require highly technical skills including complex rigging, working in and around utility lines, or will require the use of large cranes.
With over 30 years in the business Grizzly Tree Service crews include arborists and tree care specialists with all the training & skills necessary to safely complete the most dangerous & difficult of tree removals.
Tree removal costs vary by location on property, the size of the tree, and the risks involved in removal of the tree and even weather conditions play a factoring in determining the costs to remove the tree. To receive your FREE tree removal estimate, please call us and we will be happy to come out to your property and discuss all of your options.
Tree Trimming & Tree shaping will not only enhance the appearance but will also create value for your home. Giving direction to trees as they grow may be done in the form of pruning, thinning or removing deadwood.
For example, we have found that there are seven main reasons people call us in to help with their tree pruning care.
This is a risk in dry weather as well as in windy, wintery weather.
If you have a potentially great view, what better way to increase the value of your home?
This is especially so with crown reduction or thinning out the branches.
Tree Pruning allows more light and air to penetrate your tree, enhancing growth, making your tree stronger.
Tree shaping can have a dramatic effect as trees can grow in many directions due to different weather conditions. But a reasonably symmetrical tree shape is much more visually appealing.
As trees age, branches can become week or decay. Branches don’t need strong wind to fall off. They can easily fall off on their own accord for no apparent reason. Imagine if your children were playing underneath!
The Electricity (Hazards from Trees0 Regulations 2003, require you to maintain a minimum of space The Growth Limit Zone or GLZ) from the power lines to your property. Failure to do so can result in you being fined up to 1,000!
Pruning can help with all of these problems but it’s important to realize that you can’t simply prune trees and hope it will be OK. You will be better to use an experienced Professional Tree Service Company like Grizzly Tree Service for your tree trimming and pruning needs.
You will find when gathering estimates pruning costs they can vary wildly from tree service company to tree service company.
here are just some of the factors that will influence your tree trimming estimate:
A. Location and accessibility of the tree to be pruned
B. How much of the tree is been pruned. What you may envision as the end result of the trimming job may not be the same as what your estimator is thinking. Be sure to ask questions and try to be as specific as possible as to how much of the tree you want trimmed.
C. The risk factors involved
D. The experience of the tree service company
E. The time of year. This plays a huge factor. Tree companies that have a good reputation are very busy during the Spring and Fall seasons. If you can, plan ahead and try to schedule your job for the slower winter and summer months.