East Texas trees hit hard by ‘hammer blow’ of 2021 winter storm

Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 11:15 AM CST
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - The Texas A&M Forest Service says that trees were the vegetation most impacted by the winter “hammer blow” of 2021.

″We saw needles on the pines trees turning red, it looked like everything had up and died in a matter of about 3 days. Now we’re seeing trees dying in higher than average numbers,” said Alan Smith with the Texas A&M Forest Service.

However, it wasn’t just the winter storm that affected the trees.

“It’s a combination of factors. A cold weather event, a freeze. Get a little damage it stresses the trees, some of them up and die. Unfortunately then we went into a drought, and that’s another stress factor on the trees,” said Smith.

And that stress makes them vulnerable to disease and pests.

“And then they get attacked by our regular beetles, and other insects,” Smith said. “The trees that died from the freeze, we believe were in a bad way before the freeze.”

Experts say that one indicator that trees have been stressed by weather events is cracks that develop in the protective bark layer.”

“Where they freeze on the inside then warm up, and the bark cracks. that’s attractive to insects,” Smith said.

With some trees, it could be years before damage can be seen.

“With some of them it may be a gradual process throughout the years, they may have thinning foliage, branches dropping down,” said Gregg County Agri-Life Extension Agent Shaniqua Davis.

But most trees will survive it.

“The majority of them did come back. and did just fine,” Smith said.

Storm of the century, one year later
Storm of the century, one year later(KLTV)

KLTV & KTRE are looking back at how East Texans weathered the historic winter storm of 2021 and how life has changed a year later. Click here for special content on our ‘Storm of the Century: One Year Later’ page.

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