Here’s how to help trees recover after Hurricane Beryl

A forestry expert shares some tips and problems to look out for.

By Alexandra Hart & Gabrielle MuñozJuly 10, 2024 4:16 pm,

On top of the power issues left in Hurricane Beryl’s wake, there’s a lot of property damage, including damaged trees with snapped limbs – and sometimes trees torn from the ground, roots and all.

While the storms themselves can’t be stopped, there are things we can all do to reduce damage to trees and property, as well as help damaged trees recover better.

Connor Murnane, Conroe-based forester with the Texas A&M Forest Service, spoke with the Standard about potential issues to keep an eye on in the coming weeks, and how help prevent damage to trees ahead of future storms. For even more tips, visit the Texas A&M Forest Service’s website.

What should people be looking for as they inspect their trees for damage, beyond the obvious fallen trees or broken branches?

Murnane says it’s important to be on the lookout for the very small pine bark beetle in pine trees.

“You won’t see them immediately after this storm. But, still, such damaging effects like this can often invite pests like that,” he said. “You’ll typically hear them chewing inside of the tree, or there’s some other indicators present on the trunk of the tree as well.”

Those indicators include pitch tubes, which look like wads of gum, on trunks, as well as pine needles turning brown, red or orange in the tree’s canopy.

“That’s not a good thing,” Murnane said. “Pine trees are evergreen, so their needles should be green all year long.”

» MORE: Safety experts remind Houstonians to practice chainsaw safety in Beryl’s aftermath

When it comes to uprooted trees, is it possible for smaller trees to be replanted and be okay? How can you tell when a tree is a total loss? 

Yes, there is potential for smaller trees to be replanted, Murnane said. 

He recommends checking out the Texas A&M Forest Service’s after-storm resources for illustrated examples of both minor and major damage and recommendations on what to do.

Are there some trees that are less suited to withstand hurricane-force winds?

It depends more on the density of the trees, Murnane said. 

“The fewer trees there are, the more readily available the wind is to kind of impact those single trees, as opposed to more of a dense forest setting where there is a little bit more of a windbreak,” he said.

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How should people prepare property and trees for future storms? 

Murnane recommends monitoring trees regularly for any signs of damage, like weak or diseased portions. 

“Doing some good proactive pruning of those trees can really help reduce the impacts of storm damage in natural disasters like this,” he said.

Pine trees are natural pruners, he said, “so as they get taller and larger, they will start shedding some of their branches off.”

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