Trees dead from 2011 drought now pose falling danger

Updated: Jul. 28, 2020 at 1:40 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - It happened almost a decade ago but East Texas is seeing the aftermath now.

The 2011 drought killed thousands of trees and they have been falling taking out power lines and potentially causing property damage.

KLTV talks with the Gregg County Ag Extension Agent about the dangers of dead trees.

In many East Texas cities it’s not uncommon for first responders to take a call about a fallen tree. Recently in Longview one dropped taking out a power line.

Gregg County Ag Extension Agent Shaniqua Davis said the trees are pretty easy to spot.

“We have been seeing actually some stress drought from when we had the 2011 drought, as well as last year when we had drought where it rained quite a bit and then stopped raining,” Davis said.

And many trees killed by drought have become dangerous. Some are more susceptible than others.

“Post oak are very finicky with water. If they get too much they don’t like it, if they don’t get enough they don’t like it. So that’s going to be where you see a lot of your significant stresses,” Davis said.

She says property owners need to watch for loss of leaves.

“That’s where trees get their nutrients from; where they get their food to be able to survive so whenever they have less leaf coverage they have less nutrients they are able to take in,” Davis said.

And she says, that’s when branches can unexpectedly drop.

“If you don’t have enough nutrients then that branch is not going to be strong enough to sustain the weight at the end of it,” Davis said.

Dropping limbs, or the whole tree, can cause damage or injury. That’s when you need to call someone like Timo Vicente with D and J Lawn Service.

“If you wait too much time like in this case, the tree is going to be rotted and it’s going to be more dangerous, not just for the people who live in the house, it’s going to be a danger for the climber who goes in the top of the tree,” Vicente said.

And in this case the climber had to cut lower than he would have liked. Davis says is limbs that are:

“Two inches in diameter or larger, that’s when it becomes a hazard,” Davis said.

And the dead, diseased or infested tree needs to come down before it brings you down.

They also say waiting too long makes the dead tree attractive to ants and termites. If a dead tree becomes infested it can drop limbs or fall more quickly.

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