County Fields Reports of Downed Trees from Homeowners
What you need to know about tree removal on your property following Friday's derecho storm.
Transportation officials are continuing to remove trees from county roads following Friday’s violent storms, and homeowners are flooding the county’s information line with calls about downed trees on their property.
When it comes to downed trees near your home, be sure to check who owns the property before calling a tree removal company—it may not be your problem.
“If the tree was growing on private property and fell over, it’s the responsibility of the private homeowner,” said Esther Bowring, a county spokeswoman. “If it’s a tree growing on publicly owned property, whatever entity owns that property has the responsibility.”
Residents can report downed trees by calling 311 or visiting montgomerycountymd.gov/311. But with the county’s 311 information line inundated with calls following the storms, reporting the tree via the website may be easier, Bowring said.
DOT can assess whether the tree was growing on public right of way, and if so, who owns it, Bowring said.
If the tree is entangled in power lines or within 10 feet of a downed line, it’s the utility company's responsibility to remove the tree, Bowring said.
The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection offered advice to residents in search of home repair contractors Monday, warning them to do their research in advance.
For tree removal, residents should check with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division at 410-260-8521 or www.dnr.maryland.gov to find out whether the company is a licensed expert with DNR.
It can be tricky to track complaints with unlicensed companies, according to a county news release, especially if the contractor has been paid in advance.
Residents should ask for written verification of the company’s insurance and workers' compensation coverage.
The county's transportation department is continuing tree removal work on county roads, Bowring said. The Maryland State Highway Administration is working to clear trees from state roads.
“Crews have been focusing the efforts on main roads and emergency routes, and primary and secondary routes,” Bowring said. “Those had pretty much been cleared of trees by early this morning. Now they’re going out into the neighborhoods. It’s just like with snow—it takes a while to get into every single subdivision.”