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The state does not have a dedicated program to inspect for damaged trees, but instead relies on maintenance crews doing other work on the roadways and on observations from the public.

Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar said his agency also works with the public, as well as its own roads crews and power companies, to identify any trees at risk after a storm.

Along with regular tree trimming, road crews out doing other work can flag trees that look injured or have branches at risk of hurting someone.

Tree trimmers are sent to the tree at a later date, though if something is “an imminent danger, we will take it out immediately,” Mr. Gischlar said.

In the District, the Urban Forestry Administration employs 16 arborists to maintain roughly 140,000 street trees.

The department, which falls under the city’s Department of Transportation, regularly prunes and removes dying trees, spokesman John Lisle said. It also relies on residents to report unhealthy ones.

He warned that is not always enough during a strong storm though.

“It’s also important to keep in mind we’ve seen a lot of healthy trees come down and healthy tree branches snapped off,” Mr. Lisle said.

In October, a 35-year-old man was killed by a falling branch as he walked from his house on Adams Mill Road in Northwest. The tree was not visibly in need of removal.

Some residents take that message to heart. Mount Pleasant resident Bill Panici has worked to save neighborhood trees from Dutch elm disease since the late ‘90s when he started the Adams Mill Road Elm Tree Project. The organization raises funds every other year to prevent the spread of the elm bark beetle by injecting healthy trees with a fungicide.

But even vigilant local organizations cannot prevent all problems with trees.

“As recently as the spring and summer prior to that we had pruned some dead limbs out of a couple of the elms on the block,” Mr. Panici said. “Our Ward 1 arborist, Janet Miller, examined the tree and determined that there was no way to know that the limb was a threat. The tree did not have Dutch elm disease.”

Three years ago, a woman and child were killed along Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase when a tree fell on their car during a powerful storm.

Have big trees checked

The derecho storm that wreaked havoc on the area ended up closing about 200 state roads for high water and/or debris, Mr. Gischlar said.

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