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Tree experts warn Texas homeowners about the dangers faced by trees due to drought and heat

Houston tree experts are cautioning homeowners to watch for insect invaders looking to make meals of their weakened oak and pine trees.

As daily temperatures continue to soar into triple digits, experts fear the state may lose up to two million trees to disease and pine bark beetles. They say unless Mother Nature relents, these pines may become weak to the point where they become susceptible to pests and diseases.

Tree experts warn that stressed trees are easy preys to bark beetles, which could chew their way through millions of trees before the end of the year. Last year, Hermann Park in Houston alone, lost 22 pine trees to the bugs.

Louis Flory, owner of Kingwood, TX based Ability Tree Experts this week assessed the danger facing trees in Houston and other Texas cities and the prognosis was grim.

“The danger is high. It is imminent. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 9 or 10,” he warned.

Flory’s warning came as his company continues to shoulder increased levels of calls from distressed homeowners who are worried about their trees.

“Our work load has tripled in the last few months and it will be like this for months to come. When we are through with the drought, we will be dealing with diseases and pests for months to come.”

The City of Houston is not faring better. City forester, Victor Cordova this week issued the same grim assessment on the faith of trees in the city’s parks, giving them a high probability of pine beetles infestation.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, I’ll call it a 10. It is imminent,” he said.

According to National Weather Service forecasters, the city of Houston has entered uncharted territory. The city’s rainfall rate has been below normal for the past eight months.

“Almost everything is showing signs of stress in the more natural areas”, said Mickey Merritt, the Texas Forest Service’s bayou urban forestry coordinator. “A lot of times in yard situations, trees are getting water. But you look in natural areas, and everything is so dry. It’s like they are petrified, a lot of wilting leaves, a lot of drooping.”

by S. C.
13 september 2011, World News > America