April 20, 2014

Elyria
Mostly sunny
74°F
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Tree companies are cleaning up in more than one way

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AMHERST — “Cut and run” isn’t a bad strategy for a tree company.

Especially after a hurricane.

In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, companies like the Elyria-based Smith’s Tree Service have been busy removing hundreds of trees that fell around Lorain County during the storm. The rain and wind subsided Thursday, and the sun actually reappeared, but owner Roy Smith and employees Joel Hettel and Chuck Lemasters got drenched and whipped by the elements Tuesday and Wednesday while responding to dozens of calls.

“We’ve been working nonstop ever since the storm,” Lemasters said Thursday as he took a break from cutting a fallen pine tree with a chainsaw at 275 Habant Drive. “A lot of people have been calling for emergencies. We definitely have been slammed.”

The pine tree on the front lawn knocked down electrical wires. Lemasters and Smith say pine trees were especially vulnerable during the storm because of their shallower roots. The crew also removed maple and oak trees.

Smith said Tuesday that heavy mud made it harder to move equipment into yards and to get to recycling areas.

Smith often climbs up trees or stands in a bucket truck while Hettel and Lemasters work chainsaws and the wood chipper. They avoid removals near live electrical lines. Removal costs between $250 and $1,500.

Despite the costs, Hettel said homeowners, some of whom have also experienced flooding problems, are grateful.

“They’re kind of devastated by all the trees falling,” he said.

Despite the elements, Lemasters said the company has been able to remove dozens of trees that were either on roofs or about to fall on them.

“There were big trees swaying in the wind, ready to crash at any minute,” Lemasters said. “We saved a lot of houses.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.