The days are getting warmer, our redbuds have flowered and faded, and the abundance of spring rains across much of Oklahoma has played its part in helping things green up. Hopefully, this trend will continue and we will not experience another year of record heat and drought like 2011. However, the effects of last year’s conditions are evident in the trees and forests across our state.
Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture,Food and Forestry, reports that the symptoms being seen today may actually be linked to something in the past. Trees can survive Oklahoma’s weather extremes such as droughts, ice storms, tornadoes and flooding, but each event adds to the stress of the trees and can cause them to go into a state of decline. Having multiple events so close together like we have had over the past couple of years compounds the problem, weakening trees and putting them at risk of attack by insects and diseases which further complicates the issue.
Due to the heat and drought of 2011, many trees were stressed and went into early dormancy. Currently, trees across Oklahoma are slow to sprout leaves or have only partially sprouted leaves and still others haven’t greened up. It is questionable if some trees will put on leaves at all. This has been seen in the past, and this can be expected following any extended or severe weather event.
Depending on what may be causing the problem, trees with only a small percentage of thecanopy showing signs of stress, decline or dieback might be possible to save. If greater than 50% of the tree has not yet greened up this spring, it may already be entering a serious state of decline.
“While recovery is still possible, there are costs associated with tree care and the difficult decision to remove the tree and invest in replacing it becomes the best option,” said Brian Hall, OFS Staff Forester.
To help the landowner, OFS has tree care and health information available on its website as well as contact information for professionals who can provide local assistance.
OFS also monitors tree health and conditions across the state and would like to hearf rom landowners about their trees and other citizens who know of trees or forested areas showing signs of extreme stress. Interested persons can go to the OFS website at http://www.forestry.ok.gov/health and complete a short survey form and also request assistance regarding their own trees at the same time.
Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012
by Michelle Finch-Walker, 580-236-1021or firstname.lastname@example.org