ALERT: Crews fight two-alarm blaze at Chesterfield flooring store

Expert says preventive tree maintenance is key

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–After big storms ripped through Central Virginia on Friday night, Luke Swenson, owner of Humanitree in Richmond, knew he would be busy.

Whenever storms strike, Swenson says his tree removal business sees a rush of phone calls. “Calls ranging from broken limbs and downed trees to smashed fences and cars.”

Once the storms are finished, the potential for danger is not over, according to Swenson.  He says loose limbs and branches caused by a big storm can cause significant damage.

“A lot of times, they’re hung on by just small branches,” Swenson says.  “As it decays and dries out and the wind blows, there’s no telling.”

 “It’s just a roll of the dice when they come down,” he adds.

Gale Harrison knows that all too well.  Her Chesterfield home was hit hard by Hurricane Irene last year. 

Now, as she cleans up the mess from Friday’s storms, she has a message to home owners with trees near their homes.

“Get those branches trimmed back if you can,” says Harrison. “I bought this house because of the trees.  I did because it looked like a park, and I loved it.”

“But there are consequences that come along with that,” she adds.

Swenson urges everyone to call a tree removal specialist if you feel your home may be threatened.  He says most tree removal businesses provide customers with a free assessment before any work is done.

“People, I guess, don’t understand until it actually happens,” says Swenson.  “Once it happens, they understand, and I’ve noticed a lot more calls lately just because they have seen the damage to their homes and their neighbors’ homes.”