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URBAN & COMMUNITY FORESTRY
  • AFTER THE STORM: FLOODING: CARING FOR DAMAGED TREES

    It is especially important in the initial days of a flooding event to take action. When there is a flood, there are things you can do to reduce safety hazards caused by downed and damaged trees and protect the trees still standing.
     + Before You Start
    • Look up! Stay away from trees that are within 10 feet of or touching power lines. Call your local electric utility to report it.
    • Call 811 before you dig. Make sure the soil is stable enough to withstand heavy machinery.
    • Do not move fallen trees along river banks as they help stabilize banks and slow water flow, while providing protection for new vegetation growth. 
    • If you decide to remove your trees, use fully insured contractors. If you decide to keep your trees or need help assessing tree damage, hire an ISA Certified Arborist. Find a Certified Arborist at isatexas.com.
    • Document tree damage and loss by periodically photographing your trees. This is beneficial for future insurance and tax purposes.
    • Do you have oak trees? Check out texasoakwilt.org to learn how to prevent spreading oak wilt.
     + Safety First: Remove Imminent Dangers

    • Watch for downed trees across roads, homes and bridges.
    • If your tree is a safety risk, prune the damaged or broken limbs or have the tree removed entirely.
    • Look for root plate shifting. If a mature tree is leaning more than 30 degrees or has uprooted with more than 3 inches of its roots exposed, it should be assessed by a Certified Arborist for possible removal. Do not try to stand the tree up or stake it in place.

     

     + Protect Remaining Trees and Water
    • Do not fell trees or push woody debris into streams or rivers.
    • Minimize soil disturbance: Put down 6–8 inches of mulch before heavy equipment operates over root systems—a layer of plywood on the mulch adds extra protection. Spread the mulch out after the work is completed. No more than 2 inches deep.
    • Remove deposited soil that has accumulated under the tree canopy to prevent further damage to root systems. If possible, aerate the soil—perforate with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the roots while being careful not to damage tree roots.
    • Prune ends off broken branches. Paint all wounds on oak trees. Restoration pruning will be needed over the next 5-10 years.
    • Locate burn piles at least 50–100 feet from trees and riparian areas.
     + Additional Resources
    Find an ISA Certified Arborist at isatexas.com

    Donate to help restore trees in disaster affected communities at treecovery.tamu.edu

    Learn more about repairing trees after the storm at tfsweb.tamu.edu/afterthestorm/canmytreebesaved/

    Floods and Trees - What to do now? (PDF, 358KB)

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