After the storm in Texas, is my tree dead?
Record lows of -19 degrees left trees and plants susceptible to frost damage
Trees and plants need time to recover before residents evaluate the full extent of their damage. The Texas Trees Foundation advises residents to wait until Spring to determine what part of their tree or shrubs may be permanently damaged.
"If residents had a healthy, well-adapted tree prior to the storm that did not suffer from any structural damage," said Emily Plauche, Texas Trees Foundation Urban Forestry Research Coordinator, "it should recover from the freeze with minimal or no issues."
If a tree or shrub sustained freeze damage, be vigilant over the next year to reduce further stress and provide adequate moisture throughout the growing season. Additionally, newly planted trees are particularly susceptible to stressors such as extreme cold and heat and may require extra care, including watering, to ensure it survives the Texas Summer.
Plauche further commented "Residents should pause on preemptively cutting branches that may seem frozen or dead. The best thing to do is to wait for temperatures to warm back up before determining what may be permanently damaged and how to proceed."
Trees that sustained structural damage, for example limbs that broke under the weight of accumulated ice, could become a safety hazard, and should be immediately assessed. "Any time you are unsure about your tree, you should contact a certified arborist to help determine what parts of your tree may be damaged. They can also help you with any necessary pruning while minimizing damage and potential for disease introduction."
For more information about tree care and damage evaluation following the February 2021 freezing weather, please visit the Texas Trees Foundation website at https://bit.ly/