Woodland owners impacted by storms are encouraged not to rush into taking action to salvage what may appear to be a severely damaged woodlot. Homeowners should heed the same advice. To the untrained eye, the damage to forests and trees may appear to be more substantial than it actually is. The long term impact on forest growth and health should be assessed with the input and advice of a professional forester. Waiting a matter of several weeks to six months or more should be of little consequence. Landowners shouldn't yield to pressures of harvesting contractors wanting to immediately conduct salvage work until the owner has an unbiased assessment of the extent of damage and professional input as to the course of action that best addresses the problem while meeting landowner management objectives. Economic benefits or access to federal cost-share support could be compromised when landowners take steps without knowing the value of downed material. Homeowners needing to address safety concerns of trees around their homes should do so, but there’s no rush to perform other tree maintenance issues
Rushing in to salvage woodland trees before making a careful evaluation carries risks:
Safety may be compromised by hurried salvage. Windblown trees are generally under tension where they lie and are more dangerous to cutters and bystanders.|
There is a chance of missing opportunities for assistance from programs such as the federal Emergency Forest Restoration Program which will not contribute once work has been started. Land owners may also want to investigate tax implications of salvage timing close to the new year.
Less scrupulous individuals may pressure landowners to remove materials “for free” or without the protection of contracts, deposits, etc. It is important to check references and bonding and get legal agreements in order before work begins.
Conducting work may put landowners enrolled in UVA at risk of being out of compliance with their plans. Salvage activities require plan amendments which are easy to file once the work is planned. Properties Enrolled in Use Value Appraisal Program: Before you salvage wood, you will need to contact your consulting or county forester to amend your management plan.
The bottom line is:
Don’t Panic: Stop, think and be patient. Trees have excellent recovery potential. Landowners have at least the upcoming growing season to fully assess damage and determine the need for salvage.
Safety First and Foremost: Clearing access roads and evaluating forest stands containing hanging limbs and bent trees is dangerous. Homeowners should never perform tree work from ladders or around power lines- get professional help. Use safety precautions at all times.
Get Professional Advice: Landowners should seek advice from a professional forester or arborist. Each forest and shade tree is different.
Local Forests, Parks and Recreation Office
Windham & Windsor
Rutland District:Bennington & Rutland Counties
Addison, Chittenden, Franklin & Grand Isle
Barre District:Lamoille, Washington & Orange Counties
Wind Wood Utilization: Although from Mississippi, there’s lots of information relevant to the northeast at this “hub for information specifically relating to the preparation for, response to, recovery from major wind events”