Now's the time to check your trees - before the next storm

PORTLAND, Ore. - Fall's first storm packed a punch around our area, leaving behind some power outages and tree troubles. So now's the time we need to check our trees and do it before another round of storms roll in.

Even before Mother Nature brought part of it down during Sunday's storm and crashed into the side of his Northeast Portland home, Josh Elliott knew the tree next to his house had to come down.

"This hasn't been a good tree," he said. "It's dead."

Elliott called Northwest Tree Specialists for help. Tree expert, Tom Morton, said Elliott's tree, known as Tree of Heaven, is an invasive species and grows fast, making it weak.

Sunday's storm tested its strength.

"After our first rains the tree absorbs a lot of water," Morton said. "We also have a little more wind and wind from different directions that the trees aren't used to."

Morton said now is a good time for everyone to check their trees because the change in weather makes it easier to tell if a tree is vulnerable.

"If there are any cracks in the tree, or the tree is losing its leaves prematurely or show signs of extensive die-back," he said.

But don't pick just any tree service. Make sure they're licensed with the state and insured. Also, read customer reviews online through the Better Business Bureau or Angie's List.

"Just the fact that you have a contractor's license to be a tree service doesn't mean you're knowledgeable in that field," Morton said.

But Elliott knows that the crews with Northwest Tree Specialists are pros: He did his homework.

One benefit of having a tree taken down is now there is lots of firewood. The Elliott family, however, doesn't have a fireplace. So the wood will be donated somewhere.

The crew with Northwest Tree Specialists will come back in a few weeks to grind the stump out of the ground.