ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Over the last six months, trees have been recovering from February’s historic winter storm, and with this year’s growing season coming to an end, it’s finally time to tell if they’re going to fully come back.
Experts say that any branches that haven’t grown leaves since the storm are no longer alive, and it’s time to prune them to keep them and the surrounding area safe.
Abilenean professor, Rich Tanner, recently had his dead red oak tree get uprooted during a storm, splitting the tree completely in half, almost hitting his roof.
“It looks like they took the damage to the roots, and so they were just rotting down there while still sprouting leaves up top, and then the weight of the water I guess from the rain and the soft ground finally just split,” said Tanner.
Tanner says after spending some time surfing the internet, he is figuring out how to cut down the rest of the dead trees himself, preventing any potential damage to his home.
Local Arborist Bruce Kreitler says you can do the same with branches damaged by the cold last winter. IF they do not have leaves on them, it’s safe to say those are ready to cut off.
“When we’re cutting those out you can look at the ends of them, it’ll be kind of brownish inside or grey because fungus gets in there pretty quick,” said Kreitler.
While we waited through the warm months to avoid pests and disease, Texas A&M Forest Service says now is a suitable time to prune back those dead branches, while the live branches are still easily distinguishable.
It is likely trees with less than 50% of their original canopy will eventually die but Kreitler says there is a chance the trees could make a comeback.
“Live Oaks have that ability and it’s rare, but they can do it. These are rare circumstances so they may do it,” said Kreitler.
The trees on your property that are looking a bit lifeless may just be in the final stages of their energy reserves with little energy left to put toward defense for the upcoming season.
“Yeah, it’s kind of hard work. I got the one tree down and I was tired, so I had to go in and take a nap. I said I was done, so the rest had to wait,” said Tanner.
Kreitler says it is best to go ahead and make way so new growth can come next Spring.