Closings and delays

Local tree removal companies busy preparing residents for Hurricane Irma

Certain trees could pose a big danger to your yard, home, and property in the wind and rain. And as Hurricane Irma approaches the Triad next week, you may be running out of time to get rid of them.

FOX8 talked to several busy tree removal companies this week. They're saying it might be too late to plan for Irma, but it's never too late to get your yard storm-ready for the next one.

Workers with Chris' Trees turned limbs into sawdust on Grand Court in Winston-Salem on Thursday.

In heavy wind and rain, a tree in the front yard could have crashed down on a home.

"It had a large rotten spot in the bottom," said Chris Guyer, the owner of Chris' Trees.

You can ask a tree removal company to inspect your trees, but you can also often spot for yourself when a tree is dangerous. Look for weak spots, rotting rood, or cracks in where limbs split from the trunk. Live trees can also be more dangerous than dead trees in a storm.

"The live trees have many more limbs and the leaves for the wind to blow against," Guyer said. "The dead tree is typically some sticks and some shorter limbs and the trunk. So it's very hard for the wind to blow hard enough against the trunk of the tree to blow over."

It's still unclear how Irma could affect the Triad, but this homeowner wanted to be prepared.

"To maybe prevent a catastrophe later on this week," Guyer said.

The homeowner scheduled their tree remover weeks ago.

"She had enough forethought when Harvey came through to go ahead and call us before we even knew about Irma," Guyer said.

Now others have the same idea. The problem, tree removal companies are getting dozens of calls every day, and they can't schedule them all before the storm.

Chris' Trees is already booked through Sunday, with more than 50 yards on their schedule.

"Unfortunately, it's human nature," Guyer said. "People put things off, and then they start calling when the see the bad is coming our way."

At this point, your options for getting potentially dangerous trees removed are limited. Now, it's time to come up with a plan to stay safe if the storm hits our area.

"I would seek shelter in a lower level of your home,"Guyer said. "I wouldn't stay in the upstairs, especially if you have large trees around the house. Even from the neighbors' yard they can come over and cause damage."

Down the street, the Barnhardts had two giants removed from their yard a few years ago.

"Grass wouldn't grow there. They were a danger to the house," Jack Barnhardt said.

They're glad their neighbors are being proactive, and they hope the storm rides over the Triad.

"I've got worries, but nothing that keeps me awake," Barnhardt said.

You can start planning ahead for the next storm now, so you're not caught with damage to your home that could be prevented.

"Hindsight is expensive," Barnhardt said.

You can also rent the equipment to remove limbs and trees yourself, but unless you know what you're doing, experts recommend leaving that work for the professionals.