5.6 million urban trees die from drought, poses public safety hazard

POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012 - 4:48pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- The trees that make up our city parks and shade our homes took a huge hit from the drought.

According to a survey by the Texas Forest Service, an estimated 5.6 million trees in the lone star state are dead.

"We believe this could be as much as 10 percent of the trees in our cities and towns," said Pete Smith, an urban forester for the Texas Forest Service.

It will cost $560 million to remove the dead trees and the estimated loss of economic and environmental benefits is roughly $280 million.

Now it's up to us to decide if the trees in our yard need to be removed.

"We want people to be careful because these are urban trees. They're where people live, work and play, and we want to try and make that environment safe," said Smith. 

One way to tell if your tree is dead is to check if the bark is still there because if it's not then it's time to take it down because it will do more harm than good.

But why are they so dangerous?

"It is a risky period that we come into with these spring storms that bring very hot, dry winds in some places and now those dead trees are now going to contribute to that fuel-loading that we, you sometimes here firefighters talk about," said Smith.

And he says the Texas Forest Service is encouraging everyone to help by planting new trees.



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