A tree fell on my property. What now?

(Paula Merritt)

It’s a question hundreds of people are asking this morning after severe storms swept through Northeast Florida and South Georgia overnight. Tree removal can be a nuisance at best. At worst, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars, unnecessarily.

Here’s what to do when a tree falls on your house:

If a tree falls on and damages your house, contact your homeowners insurance. The will likely to cover the damage and possibly the cost of debris removal. This is also true if a tree on your property falls on to a neighbor’s house.

If a tree falls on your property and isn’t a danger, then it’s likely you’ll have to remove a tree on your own:

  1. Consider contacting a tree removal service. The average cost to remove a tree ranges from $150 to $1,500. This may be your best option if you have several downed trees and little experience with landscaping.
  2. If you’re opting for the DIY option, make the area around the tree safe. A fallen tree is a danger at all times. Power lines might have been damaged near the tree or the tree might be resting precariously on some unseen obstruction. Make sure the area is safe before you start working to remove it.
  3. Chop the tree. Begin from the top to remove the tree’s branches. Work your way down until you have stripped the tree’s trunk of all branches. Then divide the tree into manageable slices (which should get narrower towards the tree’s trunk). Use a chain saw to cut the tree into these slices. If the wood is good and dry, you can save it for firewood.

But, is it safe to remove a tree without a professional?

Rule of thumb: If you would have to use a ladder to reach and remove tree limbs, that tree is too big for you to remove safely.