The trees that fell into roadways, on power lines and on top of garages have been carted away. But tree trimming services in York County are still getting calls about the remainder of the damage, which could include months of work ahead.
Ronald James, who owns James Family Tree Service in Stoverstown, said he's still getting calls from people who need help removing trees from their properties. Much of James' work this week included visiting properties to give price estimates to owners — a process that wasn't in question when trees were blocking the roads. But now the emergencies are out of the way, and James can give people a time frame of when the limbs will leave their yards.
Other landscaping companies are reporting the same situation. Eric Johnson, a local manager for Bartlett Tree Experts, said he has called in employees from other branches to help with the extra load of calls. Johnson said new customers who call will typically have a waiting time of one to two weeks.
Price gouging: The state attorney general's office put out a release last week that said people calling tree services should beware of possible price gouging schemes. A spokesman from the office said landscapers cannot charge an unreasonably high amount for services after the storm because Governor Tom Corbett issued a state of emergency last Thursday.
James said he's not sure of any particular "red flags" for price gouging, but did say the practices and prices of companies from outside the York area may be higher than local companies'.
James also said he has been giving people two estimates for the work, if he knows the snow largely affects the price. James said it is much more difficult to clear a tree when limbs are frozen into the snow on the ground, or when the existing depth of snow is still six to seven inches. With two estimates, James said, customers can choose whether they want the work done immediately for a higher price, or if they want to save money and wait until the snow disappears.
Waste removal: For those Yorkers who are trying to dispose of the limbs and brush on their own, waste removal companies say the best tactic is to contact the municipality to see if it has collection areas set up for limbs and brush.
The York County Solid Waste Authority does accept limbs and branches from residents at the resource recovery center, said spokeswoman Ellen O'Connor. There is a minimum $10 fee, and the cost is according to the weight of a load.
The trash collection standards do vary by township, said Kathy Masch, director of operations at Penn Waste. Masch said customers are able to dispose of one large item per week. In the case of branches, Masch said they will accept a bundle of branches if they are tied together and the limbs are less than four feet long. Limbs longer than that, or tree stumps, will damage the collection equipment and will not be collected, Masch said.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.