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Omaha residents scramble to replace trees torn down by powerful storm

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 7:27 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -There’s a mountain of trees piled up at Ta-Ha-Zouka Park.

Grant Nelson is one of the many people dumping his broken tree limbs off there.

“Yes,” he said. “No replacement trees.”

But he’s one of the few.

Ed DeWispelare runs Arbor Hills Tree Farm. He said he’s getting dozens of calls a day from people looking to replace their trees.

“It’s kind of heartbreaking stories when people call,” he said. “They’ve had these trees for 10-15 years. Or they’ve been in the family for years so it’s a shame to have lost that many trees in our area.”

Customers are buying the same kind of trees that they lost in the storm overnight July 9, but those who run the nurseries said residents might want to look at a different type of tree. That way — when another storm rolls around — they won’t have to replace another tree.

“Some of the softer trees that went down. The pears and the birch went down, so those are the ones we are trying to get to replace them with oaks and locusts and more of the hardwoods.”

This is also a good time to help diversify Omaha’s tree canopy. Neighborhoods have been devastated by the emerald ash borer. Now is the time to help prevent that in the future.

“Imagine a whole neighborhood had all different types of trees,” said Ethan Anderson of Mulhall’s Nursery. “That’s a lot of trees that might not be impacted by one specific thing.”

The next week is not the best time to plant those replacement trees, though. That’s because it’s going to be so hot.

Once the weather cools, 6 News was told, residents who want to plant trees are in the clear until the ground starts to freeze.

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