As you know, the derecho that struck Linn County and many others on Monday, August 10 caused massive damage to trees. Those that managed to withstand Mother Nature's fury that day could use your help.

Trees Forever field coordinator and membership steward Patty Reisinger told Homegrown Iowan the one thing you can do for your trees is water them:

The young trees would be the most susceptible when conditions are dry. However, it can help our mature older trees, too, to be watered.

Considering the thrashing trees took during the derecho and that August 10 is about the only time in the last month that most of the area has seen rain, the need to water your trees is probably obvious. However, we've all been so busy with everything else you may not have considered it. I know I didn't.

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When you water, the rule of thumb for small trees is to water out from the trunk of the tree at least as far as the branches reach. Reisinger says for large trees, "The diameter of the circle could be 15 to 30 feet or more, depending on the size of the tree."

When going out to water your trees, or when you're out in your yard at all under surviving trees, look up to see what's above you. As you know, many of the trees that are still standing have a number of damaged or broken branches hanging precariously. It continues to be a very dangerous situation.

It's been well-documented that at least half of the tree canopy in Cedar Rapids was lost due to the storm. Homegrown Iowan reports the Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department estimates approximately $60 million of the city's $112 million tree value was lost during the storm with approximately three-quarters of trees in parks and along city streets receiving some sort of damage. It's important we save every remaining one we can.

As the City of Cedar Rapids looks ahead to the process of determining which trees need to be trimmed or removed, we can likely look to information sent out by the City of Hiawatha. Hiawatha has already begun to decide which remaining trees will be removed and those that will be trimmed.

In a media release, Hiawatha said they are using these FEMA criteria to make the decisions:

Tree Removal

  • 50 percent or more of the crown of the tree is either destroyed or damaged.
  • A split trunk or branches have broken that exposes the tree's heartwood.
  • The tree has been uprooted or fallen in a public-use area and/or
  • The tree is leaning at an angle of more than 30 degrees.

Tree Trimming

  • At the point a branch is broken, the branch is more than two inches in diameter and
  • Tree branches are hanging and threatening a public-use area like a sidewalk, path, or trail.

The City of Hiawatha is marking trees to be trimmed by the city with a red dot. A white X indicates the tree will be removed.