Private and city arborists slammed after storm

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- City and private arborists have been working long hours since Tuesday's storm.

Trees act like big sails, catching strong winds, which overwhelmed weak spots in those trees during the storm.

Days later, there is still lots of brush to pick up.

One arborist said he's noticed lots of maple trees were damaged. They have big leaves, so high winds overwhelmed their branches.

"I think it has been about 20 years since we've seen a storm with the amount of damage that we're seeing," said Hoppe Tree Service President August Hoppe.

He said his company has been slammed with calls. They're in full storm mode now.

"With such devastation, the way these trees have fallen on so many houses, it has been a big mess for a lot of people," said Hoppe.

He said trees that lost limbs are not necessarily sick. Homeowners can hire an arborist to conduct a tree inspection. He said most companies will charge about $100.

"We'll also do things like put cables in trees to hold two stems together so when you have wind they won't split apart," said Hoppe.

That's what West Allis arborists are doing too. They found an ash tree had lifted up a section of sidewalk after the storm. That's a clue the roots have weakened, so they cut the branches down to eliminate the sail effect overnight.

"Want to take away that wind resistance just to prevent it from falling, just to make sure everyone's safe," said West Allis Arborist Pat Pfohl.

He said city trees have their own unique challenges. Lack of growing space is a big one.

"Between walk and curb, so you have smaller grow space, less root surface, so that's a particular problem with us," said Pfohl.

They'll come back to cut the rest of the ash down Friday, and then head on to the next job.

"I think we did 17 trees on houses yesterday, starting today I think we had 24," said Pfohl.

West Allis is starting a special brush pickup next week for storm debris.

They'll only accept items less than four feet in diameter and five feet long.

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