As I write this more than a week after Superstorm Sandy smashed into the U.S. Northeast, the toll in terms of property damage and human misery is still being tallied. The financial losses to New York City and surrounding regions will exceed $50 billion. There’s no putting a price on the loss of life and human misery this monster caused. As of this writing, Sandy is being blamed for more than 40 confirmed deaths in NYC alone. Many thousands of residents in New York and New Jersey remain without power.

Search and recovery efforts are now winding down, and the region is busy removing the rubble and attempting to get back on its feet. And it will. New Yorkers are a tough breed, and New Jerseyites no less so.

Many of you, our green industry friends in the region (arborists and landscape pros in particular), are among the many service professionals helping the region clean up, repair and replace what’s been lost. They have the equipment, expertise and manpower to safely take down damaged trees and clear the enormous amounts of green waste that huge storms leave in their wake. That’s the first order of business.

Not that any of you enjoy this type of work.

“Blood money” is how a friend who is also a landscape company owner in Lee County, Fla., describes the work. He’s had lots of experience with post-storm cleanups given the several hurricanes that swept through Southwest Florida since he founded his company in 1992. He says (with more than a little vehemence in his voice) that a disaster like Sandy benefits nobody except the unscrupulous.

Those of us not affected by the storm can help, too. We Americans (and green industry pros particularly so) are quick to aid fellow citizens in need. I’ve seen again and again in the 28 years I have been a part of this industry.

Those of us miles away from the disaster obviously won’t be showing up with chain saws, front loaders and workers, but each of us can help out with a donation (every little bit helps) to either the American Red Cross (, the Salvation Army ( or the United States Humane Society (