This summer Duluth Tree Service crews have worked 50 percent more hours per week than their usual workload. Amberjack Tree Service crews are working 50 to 60 hours per week. Estimators who usually take sales calls at Rick’s Tree and Stump Removal joined tree removal crews to help with the extra work.

Not surprisingly, the summer of 2016 has not been an average summer for Duluth-area tree removal services.

Jim Hakala, owner of Amberjack Tree Service, said he had 500 calls asking for tree services before noon the day of the

July 21 storm that knocked down countless trees in Duluth and surrounding communities. Five calls per day is a more regular total, he said.

“I’ve never had anywhere near this many calls since we’ve been in business,” he said. “You can only respond to so many.”

Duluth-area tree removal services have struggled to keep up with this summer’s demand, working longer hours with more crew members.

Hans Casperson, owner of Duluth Tree Service, said tree service crews were just recovering from the July 5 storm that caused major damage in the Island Lake area when the

July 21 storm hit. Duluth Tree Service finished its Island Lake tree cleanup jobs on Wednesday, July 20, Casperson said - the day before the storm that caused more widespread damage in Duluth, Rice Lake and throughout the region.

Rick Hanson, owner of Rick’s Tree and Stump Removal, said his crews still are tending to work in the Island Lake area while also handling many new calls from the July 21 storm.

“It’s been very busy and challenging,” Hanson said of the summer. “You have just all kinds of problems that need immediate attention.”

Hakala said Amberjack Tree Services continues to receive calls. Since Hakala and his crew could not respond to all the calls immediately, some people are calling for the second or third time to get trees removed from their property .

“It’s not like taking down a normal tree,” Hakala said of the widespread damage. “It’s leaning over a house or a power line.”

Many fallen trees also damaged other trees that remained upright after the storm. Some of these trees are salvageable, and some need to be removed.

Casperson said a tree will show signs, such as a pronounced lean, if it needs removal. Damage to the base of the tree - such as cracking, splitting or root pull - is another indicator that a tree needs to be removed, he said.

However, with proper care and pruning, Hanson said, some damaged trees can be saved.

“Anything that could be made safe again - that’s our first choice,” Hanson said. “It’s amazing how trees can rebound from a storm.”

Although it has been a busier than average summer, Casperson, Hakala and Hanson said they are finally catching up.

“The phones have calmed down,” Hanson said. “We’re definitely pulling out of the woods now.”