Dead trees in Buffalo knocked over by high winds

Posted at 6:26 PM, Dec 06, 2017

A dead tree dropped onto the front porch of a home on Norwood Avenue in Buffalo Tuesday night.

"Chaos. Armageddon. That's what it looked like," David Mercer said. He lives next door to that home.

Mercer's front porch was slightly damaged when the tree and his neighbor's porch fell into his own.

"Fortunately nobody is hurt," he said. "It's not a tragedy. It's just crazy."

That tree, which stood taller than the homes on the street, had been dead for quite a while, according to Mercer. The stump left behind showed a good deal of rot.

The City of Buffalo had already scheduled that tree, and another that fell the same night damaging a truck on Ashland Avenue, for removal, according to Andy Rabb, Deputy Commissioner for Parks and Recreation.

Unfortunately, crews had not taken those trees down before winds took care of the job.

Anywhere between 600 and 1200 trees die each year in Buffalo, according to Rabb. The department prioritizes trees that pose greater risk to people and property and try to remove those first.

The city has its own four-person forestry crew that works on tree removal, planting and grooming. It also has a forester that runs the department.

When someone reports a troublesome, dangerous or dead tree to the city, the department focuses first on trying to preserve the tree. But it keeps a running list of trees that need to be removed.

Rabb couldn't provide an exact number, but said a 2014 inventory of trees found 1,072 dead trees (of a total population of 60,000). He said the number of dead trees typically hovers around there.

That list of trees needing to be removed is worked through about once a year, with dangerous trees being removed first followed by the largest trees that have been on the list the longest.

This year, the department contracted out the removal of about 600 trees in the city. The two trees that fell in Elmwood Village Tuesday were both on the list for Davey Resource Group to remove.