Kentucky Division of Forestry
Guidelines Offered for Storm Debris and Tree Damage

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, February 03, 2009  
Contact Information:  Lynn Brammer


Commonwealth of Kentucky
Energy and Environment Cabinet

Steven L. Beshear, Governor                                                      Len Peters, Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                CONTACT: Lynn Brammer or Diana Olszowy

Guidelines Offered for Storm Debris and Tree Damage
 Division of Forestry offers advice for damaged trees

     FRANKFORT, KY – (Feb. 2, 2009) – Following the recent ice storm, many Kentuckians are now faced with cleaning up woody debris and salvaging damaged trees.  Homeowners and landowners seeking advice about damaged trees should consult with the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) or a certified arborist regarding proper disposal methods for woody debris and proper maintenance for damaged landscape trees and forest stands.   

     “As power is restored and safety issues resolved, home and landowners should be aware of local and state regulations when disposing of damaged limbs and trees,” said Leah MacSwords, division director.  MacSwords added that many damaged trees can recover if given the right care.  “Proper pruning and removal procedures can reduce the chance for further damage to landscape trees and forest stands,” she said.        

     Information about outdoor burning and damaged trees is available through the KDF Web site at or by contacting KDF at 1-800-866-0555.  Some of the general guidelines for damaged trees are as follows:

• Disposal of Woody debris – Recycling by shredding or chipping is encouraged.  If recycling is not feasible, contact your local solid waste coordinator at
• Burning woody debris – It is illegal to burn garbage or other materials, except natural plant matter, such as brush and woody debris.  If you must burn woody debris, please remember to check local ordinances and state regulations.  Citizens should contact their local fire department and county government to find out information about ordinances.  For information regarding state regulations, contact the Division for Air Quality at 1-888-BURN-LAW, the Division of Waste Management at 1-502-564-6716 and the Division of Forestry at 1-800-866-0555. 
• Outdoor burning and forest fire season – Unsafe burning of brush piles and other debris often leads to escaped fires.  Safety precautions should be taken and weather conditions considered before conducting any outdoor burning.  All burns should be continuously monitored and should be put out immediately if wind conditions exceed 5 mph.  Burn piles should be small in size and all vegetation should be cleared around the pile.  Burn piles should also be located away from structures and never under overhead utilities or existing trees.  Remember that Feb. 15 through April 30 is designated as the spring forest fire hazard season.   During this time, it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.  For more information regarding forest fire season, visit
• Pruning and maintaining damaged urban trees – The Division of Forestry can offer advice and/or contact information to address urban trees that have storm damage.  For more information on pruning and maintenance, visit or
• Managing damaged forest lands – Division foresters can also offer advice to landowners about forest stewardship and timber stand improvement.  Proper stewardship will help restore the health of your forest.  For more information on stewardship, visit