Experts said homeowners still finding derecho damaged trees amid recent storms

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Many in Cedar Rapids are now dealing with tree damage after this week’s storms. But one arborist says it isn’t because of the power of the storms.

Instead, it is the trees that were already damaged from last year’s derecho.

“I was down in the lower level doing laundry when the storm hit,” said Julia Kottke of Cedar Rapids.

Kottke said she heard the branch in her backyard snap. It landed on her fence and destroyed her neighbor’s shed.

“I called my neighbor, and she said she watched the tree fall,” Kottke said. “I thought the whole tree fell, and my neighbors just put up a new garage. Then she walked it back and said only part of it fell.”

Dylan Erlacher, owner of Erlacher Tree Services, said Tuesday’s winds were the only factor in Kottke’s tree flattening her neighbor’s shed. He inspected the tree and said the derecho left the limb wreaked and ready for a later storm to finish the job.

“There was a lot of internal cracking they couldn’t see from the actual derecho,” said Erlacher. “I thought it was all OK, the wind told him otherwise.”

Dozens of people were calling Erlacher with the same issue. He expected it to keep up as people may not see the damage from last year’s storm. He said people should get an expert to evaluate their trees, or, at the very least, try to check themselves.

“People should be looking for bark falling off, any holes in the trees, check for stress crack, or water coming through the cracks,” he said.

Kottke said three different companies came to look at her tree since Tuesday.

“I learned so much about my trees,” she said. “They told me not to worry about one of the trees and to focus on another,” she said.

Erlacher said he was booked for about 1-month to 1 and a half months.

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