Your Trees and Severe Weather

Trees are amazingly resilient. Most trees survive storms and recover over time from storm damage. Get careful, professional assessments on remaining trees so that they are not unnecessarily removed or damaged.

Before and After the Storm
Advice on Managing Your Trees

A common question of homeowners after a storm is: "Will my tree survive?" This is a difficult question to answer because it is affected by several factors of the tree's former and current condition. Some trees seem to be able to come through with only minor damage, while others suffer the loss of large limbs and significant parts of their branching structure.

Proper pruning and maintenance is the best defense against storm-related tree damage. Start now by locating a professional certified arborist and building a relationship with them. You can call on them after a storm event and trust their opinion. We recommend contacting and interviewing at least three certified arborists to find someone you feel comfortable with. Arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture are trained professionals and stay current on proper tree care. Certified arborists ensure your trees stay healthy and can identify dangerous trees that should be removed before a storm event.

Begin to understand when a tree becomes a hazard and what to do about it at our annual Hazard Tree Workshop. This workshop is each fall, prior to the storm season. Urban Forestry also hosts tree pruning workshops throughout the year. Contact (360) 487-8308 or email to find out more information.


Tree Care Before the Storm

  • Prepare your trees to reduce future storm damage through proper pruning.
  • Hire a certified arborist to regularly inspect your trees and perform necessary maintenance.
  • Specify NO Topping. Topping is not an acceptable tree care practice and creates future hazards.

Tree Care After the Storm

  • Always look for downed wires during clean-up. Call Clark Public Utilities at 992-3000 to report downed electric lines.
  • Stay calm and be patient - the damage may not be as bad as it seems. If a tree doesn't present an immediate hazard take the time necessary to be sure it gets proper care.
  • Evaluate your trees and determine if they can be saved.
  • Know what to look for to correct storm damaged trees.
  • Replace trees lost to storm damage. Remember to plant the right tree in the right place; contact Urban Forestry for suggestions or a list of approved street trees.
  • Permits may be required for removal or major pruning of trees.
  • Avoid "door knockers." Be cautious of anyone that shows up at your door because they're "working in the area." Scare tactics may be used to generate business. Many so-called arborists have no training, no insurance and aren't licensed. Unskilled workers may do more harm than good. Keep in mind it could be a scam. Do not allow yourself to be pressured. Instead, call an arborist that you know and trust.

Need to Report a Downed Tree?
Property owners are responsible for removing downed trees or limbs on their private property. To report trees that fall into a public roadway or sidewalk within the City of Vancouver, please contact Operations Dispatch at 487-8177 (24-hours a day). If necessary for public safety, City crews will move the trees out of the way. If the tree is a private tree, the property owner is responsible for removing the wood that has been placed aside.

More Tips for Severe Weather Situations

Get the facts and tips you may need should severe weather strike here. Learn more about how to be prepared for severe weather and how the City of Vancouver's Department of Public Works is serving you through snow, ice, high winds and more. Visit

Call (360) 487-8308 or send us an email for more information.