Chris Ward, owner of Arbor Barbers, said he could hardly keep up with business since last Friday morning's heavy snowfall in Steamboat Springs. He said he has received cleanup calls from Craig, Hayden and Steamboat Springs.

Photo by John F. Russell

Chris Ward, owner of Arbor Barbers, said he could hardly keep up with business since last Friday morning's heavy snowfall in Steamboat Springs. He said he has received cleanup calls from Craig, Hayden and Steamboat Springs.

Timing of snow storm leads to broken trees across Yampa Valley

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City of Steamboat Springs:

The city of Steamboat Springs' Public Works Department will pick up fallen branches brought to the curbside in residential areas of Steamboat through Wednesday. Crews ask that branch size be kept to less than 3 feet in length. Parks, Open Space & Recreation staff also will be picking up branches and debris in the city's parks and along the Core Trail. For more information, call Ron Berig at 970-879-1807.

Dumpster sites in Craig:

Woodbury Park

Highland Park

City Park

Breeze Park

Ninth and Columbine streets

11th and Washington streets

— The more than 12 inches of snow that fell during the storm at the end of last week was heavy, wet and a significant amount for this early in the season. But the reason that so many broken tree branches are littering streets from Steamboat to Craig has more to do with leaves than snow.

“It was a timing issue more than anything,” Routt County Extension agent Todd Hagenbuch said Monday.

The leaves still clinging to trees across the Yampa Valley created too much surface area, Hagenbuch said, leading to overloaded branches that eventually broke under the stress.

By 6 a.m. Friday, Chris Ward, who is the owner of Arbor Barbers tree service company, was doing a sweep of the downtown and mountain areas of Steamboat looking for homes where residents might be trapped inside by falling branches.

Ward said he helped about 12 families that morning free of charge.

By noon, the calls started to come in with people needing help cutting and hauling away broken branches and limbs.

Ward bids a flat rate for the jobs, but hazards like steep roofs and electrical lines can drive up the cost. What’s helped control the costs for homeowners, he said, is the city of Steamboat Springs’ offer to pick up branches brought to the curb through Wednesday.

The city of Craig also is performing curbside pickup for downed branches, and there are six Dumpsters were residents also can drop off branches on their own. The city has hired a contractor to chip the branches into mulch.

Hayden city staff will be picking up branches in right-a-ways but does not have plans for residential curbside pickup.

After the branches are cleared, those who have trees that have been affected should take steps to make sure the tree can heal itself, according to Hagenbuch.

“If it’s splintered, the tree won’t be able to heal,” he said.

If the tree is unable to heal over the break, it’s susceptible to disease and infection.

Broken and splintered ends should be trimmed back to the next major branch with a diagonal cut, Hagenbuch said. He advised cutting back to the collar at the base of the branch but not into the collar.

People should also check up on the tree in the spring, Hagenbuch said, and make sure it’s still healthy.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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