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Longmont Forestry Senior Arborist Technician Ernie Wintergerst uses a chainsaw to cut a fallen tree limb into pieces on Martin Street on Wednesday. (Matthew Jonas, Longmont Times Call)

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A top Colorado arborist is warning Denver-area residents not to impulsively begin sawing trees damaged by Wednesday's severe winter weather.

Instead, Keith Wood, the community forestry program manager for the Colorado State Forest Service, says homeowners should first assess the situation to avoid hurting themselves or further damaging a tree.

Tree damage is rampant across the metro area after the storm dropped more than a foot of dense, heavy snow in most areas. Firefighters and maintenance crews have been busy Thursday clearing roadways and parks of downed branches and timber.

Denver Public Works says its trash collectors will take a limited amount of branches — no larger than 4 inches in diameter and 4 feet in length — as part of its regular trash pickup service.

Dumpster customers may place up to five bundles of tied branches in a dumpster, or they may set up to 10 bundles in the alley on their scheduled every-four-week extra trash collection.

Denver residents can also take branches at the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop-off center near East Cherry Creek Drive South and South Quebec Street.

R.B. Fast's 9-year-old daughter built a snowman in their Barnum neighborhood backyard Wednesday in Denver, only to see the snowman got wiped out by a 7-foot-long branch that fell from Fast's 20-foot hedges.

"One of the core pieces of the hedges landed right on it and crushed it," Fast said.

A big branch from a crab apple tree in her yard also took a dive.


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The hedge, from the 1950s, never has been this damaged by the snow before.

"It's particularly bad this storm," she said. "We've never lost branches like this. We've definitely lost more and bigger ones, too."

Denver's forestry department fielded some 25 to 30 calls for emergency service on Wednesday, which officials said was not unusual for a winter storm.

In the city's Cheesman Park neighborhood Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, motorists were busy pulling massive branches off their cars.

Homeowners are urged to carefully brush snow off heavily covered trees to prevent damage.

In hard-hit Boulder County, The Times-Call reports Longmont officials said the city's forestry staff will be surveying areas to monitor trees in the right of way and on other city property.

Boulder's Forestry Division also will be assessing tree damage over the coming week to determine priority sites for city attention.

Limbs on the ground, in Boulder's public right of way and on public property, will be considered a lower priority, Boulder officials said, while hanging limbs still up in the air will get a higher priority.

Jesse Paul: 303-954-1733, or @JesseAPaul






Longmont Forestry Senior Arborist Technician Ernie Wintergerst uses a chainsaw to cut a fallen tree limb into pieces on Martin Street on Wednesday.



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