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Drought impact to persist for years

Houston tree expert, Louis Flory, owner of Ability Tree Experts has said the effects of severe drought Texas and other southern states went through this summer will linger for a long time.

“The drought was severe. Texas forestry officials know that the effects will linger for a long time. A few of these trees are a hundred years old and it takes time for recovery. Majority of them may not even recover,” he said.

City of Houston officials this week revered their estimate of tree losses due to the severity of the 2011 drought.

City officials said last month that the city would lose 10 percent (about 66 million) trees to high temperatures. The city now says they expect the loss to be greater because the drought has been very severe and the damage “unbelievable.”

“It’s got to the point where we have to pick and choose which trees to save and which ones to let go,” city officials said this week. “The city of Houston is concentrating on ‘signature trees’. We try to save the highly visible trees while those in the bushes may have to fend for themselves.”

Ability Tree Experts’ Flory said most Houston trees are severely stressed. “Most of the trees you are looking at may not be showing signs of severe stress but I guarantee you they are. Down the road, many of them may wither and die away as a result,” Flory added.

Harris county officials agree. Steve Dorman, Precinct 3 Parks Director said the county has been dumping thousands of gallons of water on county parks as a way to keep the trees alive. “We’re doing all we can to keep the trees alive and still failing with this drought,” he said.

Louis Flory said city and county officials may need to do more to mitigate tree losses. “More may be needed for a long time. Without doing more, the city and county may see unprecedented loss of trees.”

Houston City Parks Director Joe Turner said the city is devoting unprecedented amount of resources to the problem. He said his department has brought in 18 additional trucks and is looking for more.

“If you can find 1,500-gallon truck, we are happy to rent it. There are no more available that we can find,” he said.

“Everybody is trying to use the same resources; everyone’s trying to pull water from the same spots,” said Dana Cote, Texas Department of Transportation’s Houston district landscape architect. “We’re all trying to use the same equipment and the same contractors. There are no more available.”

by S. C.
06 october 2011, World News > America

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