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City tree clean-up might take a month

Jeremy Hart and his son, William, clean up debris from storm damage at their home Wednesday on Sixth Avenue Southeast. The limb of a maple tree narrowly missed hitting Hart's truck.


That's the advice from Jacob Ryg, city forester for Rochester.

After Wednesday morning's storm and strong winds blew through the area, Ryg and his department have had their hands — and buckets — full.

"The biggest question we get is, 'Does the city take all the stuff from their yards?'" he said of the calls coming in.

The answer is no, unless the debris comes specifically from trees on a boulevard.


"After the storm, we cleaned up probably two dozen catastrophic issues," Ryg said. "We had 175 trees, not including (from) parks."

One of those certainly qualified as a catastrophe for Bob Tapolow, who lives at Eighth Avenue and Fourth Street Southeast. He didn't hear the 100-year-old tree across the street go down, he said, but heard the clean-up process at about 2:30 a.m.

"I had my car — my old putt-putt — parked right next to it," Tapolow said of the tree that grows on the boulevard.

His neighbor, who recently began work as an intern at Mayo Clinic, had his car parked in front of Tapolow's house. The tree managed to hit both cars, totaling them. Tapolow's car had its windshield smashed and front end crushed.

"It's a goner," he said.

His neighbor's car lost both its windshield and rear window when the tree smashed through its roof.

Ryg's crew had the street clear by 6 a.m., Tapolow said, but he was left with what he called a "6-foot forest on my front lawn." It was mostly cleaned up by noon Thursday, he said, but there's another issue: all the glass.

That won't be gone until the damaged cars are moved, Tapolow said he was told.


Ryg confirmed that the city's public works department would send a street sweeper to handle a request like that.

Patience, though, is the key, he said, adding that it would likely be "a good month" before clean-up is finished.


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