Updated: Monday, 12 Oct 2009, 7:30 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 12 Oct 2009, 6:33 PM EDT
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Three years ago, the storm that changed the landscape of western New York forever, was just getting started.
It was the trees and shrubs that took the biggest hit from the surprise October Storm of 2006.
With their branches still full of leaves, western New York's prized hardwoods were no match for the heavy, wet blanket of early autumn snow.
"It was very upsetting. Especially listening to it was upsetting, and walking the park because we walk every day, and seeing what we saw, was pretty devastating," said Sandy Ludwig.
Turning entire stands of majestic oaks, maples, and ash into tons of roadside debris. Even now, a legacy of bizarre looking trees.
Thomas Herrera-Mishler of the Olmsted Parks Conservancy said, "Honestly, they look like they've had a bad haircut, and they are going to look that way for a long time. Many of them will never regain their natural form."
Part of the reason for the "bad haircuts" was federal disaster assistance only covered removal of limbs to protect public safety, aesthetics was not a factor.
Tim Zarnecki of Davey Tree Service points out, trees are long-term projects.
"You know, I think they have made a lot of progress. I think they have done some pruning, and they have done a lot of new planting," said Mark Kerwood.
Now that FEMA funding for tree care is gone, all trimming and pruning is paid out-of-pocket.
Tree experts, known as arborists, tell us within 5 to 10 years, those trees that survive could be looking like their old selves again.