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Westchester Trees Still Show Hurricane Sandy's Wrath

A profusion of downed trees from Hurricane Sandy means varied approaches on how to handle the debris.
A profusion of downed trees from Hurricane Sandy means varied approaches on how to handle the debris. Photo Credit: Julie Curtis

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – The winds have receded, but the effects of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath are still evident throughout the region in the form of downed limbs and hulking tree stumps protruding from lawns. Few people are more aware of that than Bart Tyler, owner of Kelloggs & Lawrence Hardware Store in Katonah.

“We sold and ran out of almost every item relating to trees and tree removal,” Tyler said. His list included chainsaw bar oil, two-cycle oil (mixed with fuel, it powers chainsaws) and replacement chains, “from extensive chainsaw use,” as well as all kinds of files and blade-sharpening tools, said Tyler.

“Chainsaws. Everyone wants chainsaws," said Bill Keogh, owner and operator of Keogh’s Hardware in Fairfield County, Conn.

Not everyone, however, was capable of taking the do-it-yourself route. Directly after the storm, Nick Lee of Lee Horticultural in Wilton, Conn., cautioned homeowners not to take on more than they could handle.

“No one should ever touch any part of a tree that is anywhere near a power line; they should defer to a licensed arborist to deal with limbs that are hanging, or are leaning on another tree,” he said.

In the days ahead of Sandy, demand was heavy for “storm prep” items such as flashlights, batteries and generators, Keogh said. But after, customers hunted for the means to dispose of arboreal detritus, with a run on axes, hatchets, new chains for chainsaws, pole saws and safety gear, he said.

Keogh said he has seen a steady demand in rentals of what “big ticket items,” such as chippers and log-splitters, the kind of equipment not many weekend warriors keep in their garages.

Eileen Kelly of Pound Ridge, which was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, had four “enormous” trees topple on her property.

“I got a few estimates, and it was looking like it was going to cost me maybe $5,000 to cut and remove all the debris, which just wasn’t an option for me,” she said.

Kelly, who doesn’t own any power tools and is not inclined to purchase any, took the do-it-yourself approach to tree removal.

“I have a very willing and able boyfriend,” she said. The trees, and their ancillary mess, were gone from her property in days.

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