Tree Crews say worst is yet to come - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Tree Crews say worst is yet to come

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WEST MONROE, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - Drive anywhere in the Twin Cities and you'll see these downed tree limbs everywhere.

Tree crews are all over the ArkLaMiss, trying to clean up from the winter storms.

But Craig Simons, 25-year owner of Cowboys Tree Service, says the worst is yet to come: trees standing diagonal in the ground.

"Cracks in the ground is what you would see normally from a dry ground but we know with all this rain that it's not dry, so what that signifies is that there's structural weakness in the support system of a tree," Simons said.

Tree crews are calling it a deadly weather combo.

Freezing rain softens the ground around the tree and freezes its limbs, weighing it down, a recipe for tumbling trees and a disaster for nearby homes or power lines.

"Not to mention that's her bedroom right there where she sleeps," said Simons.

Then it's time to call in the professionals but the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Louisiana warns of tree scammers.

"The most recent one we had was where a consumer had signed a contract with a tree service to take a tree completely down," BBB President/CEO, Jo Ann Deal, said. "They got halfway through the job. The tree surgeon said 'Give me some more money.' The consumer gave some more money and then this job still was not completed."

To protect yourself, the BBB says ask for a license or insurance.

Tree crew members like Simons are making sure these trees don't turn deadly.

For more tips on how to protect yourself form tree scammers, you can follow these 12 tips from the Louisiana Arborist Association:

1. Check in the phone directory usually under Trees, Tree Service or Tree Care Service, which indicates some degree of permanence.

2. Beware of door-knockers. This is especially common after storms when non-professionals see a chance to earn some quick money.

3. Never let yourself be rushed by bargains such as, "If you sign an agreement today, I can take ten percent off the price..."

4. Ask to see his/her arborist's license. All practicing arborists must be licensed by the State of Louisiana.

5. Ask for certificate of insurance including proof of liability for personal and property damage, and workman's compensation. Then phone the insurance company to make certain the policy is current.

6. Ask for local references-other jobs the company has done. Take a look at some.

7. Determine if the arborist is a member of organizations such as the Louisiana Arborist Association. Membership does not guarantee quality, but lack of membership casts doubt on the person's professionalism.

8. Have more than one arborist look at your job and give you estimates. Don't expect one to lower a bid to match another's, and be willing to pay for the estimate if necessary.

9. A good arborist will offer a wide range of services (such as pruning, fertilizing, cabling/bracing, lightning protection, etc.).

10. A good arborist will recommend topping a tree ONLY in rare circumstances (such as to save the tree after severe physical damage to the crown).

11. A good arborist will not use climbing spikes if the tree is to remain in the landscape.

12. Beware of an arborist who is too eager to remove a living tree.

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