The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

January 6, 2014

Officials warn against tree trimming

ANDERSON, Ind. — With inches of snow and ice weighing down trees, some residents might be tempted to trim branches and limbs to eliminate danger. County officials strongly discourage such plans as it could cause much more damage.

"Absolutely not. Nobody should be outside right now and certainly nobody should be trying to trim trees," said Madison County Emergency Management Agency spokesman Todd Harmeson on Monday.

The worst winter storm of the year, and possibly a few decades, coated the county, state and region in snow and ice on Sunday. In some areas, the heavy snow and ice brought tree limbs down onto power lines or to the ground. On Sunday, Madison County Sheriff Ron Richardson said officials are watching these cases around the county.

Generally, emergency crews are handling these incidents on a case-by-case basis, Harmeson said on Monday. If the branches are brought down onto power lines and cause damage, utility companies will repair the line. If not, the tree will be left alone. He said there were no major reports of trees falling onto houses, but that could change and county agencies are staying observant. Regardless, any repair attempts should be left to emergency officials.

Harmeson said that under no circumstances should someone try to trim trees or prune during the current weather emergency. First, because of the deadly cold temperatures and wind chill. Second, because any attempt could cause inadvertent damage to the tree and the surroundings.

"Bottom line, nobody should be trying to do that right now," Harmeson said. "Five minutes outside in these conditions can lead to frostbite. There are 8-, 9-foot snow drifts in some places."

What people can do, Harmeson said, is take pictures of trees, bushes and other vegetation they might want to trim eventually and remind themselves to take care of it in the spring or the summer when the weather is warmer.

"You've just got to remind yourself then to take action so you're not dealing with it in the winter, because now isn't the time," he said.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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