Drought takes heavy toll on Texas trees
The current drought in Texas is taking heavy toll on trees. It is dry and experts say they fear the loss of thousands of cherished trees unless the state receives appreciable amount of rain.
Without rain, trees especially Red Oaks, dry up and die because they have weak immune system and are susceptible to excessive heat and lack of water.
Louis Floyd, owner of Kingwood, TX based Ability Tree Experts says the extreme drought affecting Houston, The Woodlands, Kingwood and other cities has been tough on Texas trees. This has caused his business to triple in the past year.
“We have been very busy especially around Houston, The Woodlands and Kingwood. Red Oak trees have a somewhat weak immune system and the high temperatures have not helped them. We have been helping homeowners take care of their trees because of the drought.”
“They (Red Oak trees) are not designed to stay long without water. Genetically, they are weak trees and cannot withstand long periods without adequate nourishment,” he added.
Texas cities losing trees to drought
The City of Houston has begun cutting down dead and dying trees due to the drought. Joe Turner, director of the city’s Parks and Recreations Department said the city has lost about 341 trees in Memorial Park alone due to Pine Bark Beetles and the drought.
“We need help from Mother Nature right now. We need rain. It breaks my heart any time we lose the grace and beauty of this tree cover,” he said recently.
The state of Texas is also struggling to contain the effects of the drought. “We have planted one million trees in the past few years,” said Dana Cole, landscape architect with Texas Department of Transportation’s Houston District office.
“The trees that are in the 2 to 6 year-old range are being hit the hardest. Most of them are struggling right now. They’ve been through Ike (Hurricane Ike), uncommon winter freezes and a series of droughts with the worst being now.”
Watering trees help them survive
Mr. Flory said the best thing homeowners could do for their trees is to water them regularly. “Watering them properly will help them survive not only the drought but also pests and diseases. Pine Bark Beetles may become major problems in the next few months. As the trees suffer due to the drought, they become weak and immune to infestations.”
"Homeowners should also consider engaging the services of tree service companies. These experts have the knowledge and experience to take care of trees. They know how to take care of Pine Bark Beetles and other pests,” he added