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Big job

The trail of damage after last week's major Vermont snow and ice storm truly reveals the power of Mother Nature, and the remains were devastating from Brandon south, especially for trees.

More than 200 line workers, 90 tree-cutters and hundreds of support staff are making steady progress restoring electrical service to the thousands of Vermonters who lost power last Friday. Power had been restored to over 26,500 of the 35,000 who lost service.

Even though major branches may be broken, foliage might be shredded, or the bark may be torn and gouged, trees have an amazing ability to recover from even the most severe injuries. Accumulations of ice can cause tree limbs to split or break in the treetops, and branches of all sizes can come crashing down at any time especially during high winds.

Follow a few simple procedures immediately after a major storm:

1. Take safety precautions. Look up and look down. Be on the alert and stay away from downed utility lines and dangerous hanging branches that look like they are ready to fall

2. Assess the damages. Evaluate your trees carefully by asking the following questions: Other than the storm damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous? Are major limbs or the leader (the main upward-trending branch on most trees) branch still remaining? Is at least 50 percent of the tree's crown (branches and leaves) still intact? Are there remaining branches that can form a new branch structure? If you answered "yes" to the majority of these questions, there is a good chance for complete recovery.

3. Do not try to do it all yourself. Leave dangerous work such as overhead pruning or removing trees, especially large ones, to professionals who are trained in the art and science of caring for and maintaining trees. These are tree care professionals who have achieved a level of knowledge and experience and they are equipped to do the job safely.

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