In case you haven’t noticed, there are dead trees (especially oaks) far and wide in East Texas. Many more are in various states of recovery, decline, or decay. What gives?
I see and hear a lot of comments about various diseases and maladies, but I can assure that most of the damage took place during the historic freeze event of 2021. Having worked for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas in 1985, I knew very well what zero degrees would do to live oaks since they are coastal trees by nature. I also fully expected damage to many of our Zone 8 Asian plants such as azaleas, camellias, and gardenias.
But what came as a huge shock was widespread freeze damage to mature native deciduous oak trees that evolved here over thousands of years. Most of the surprise damage occurred on post oaks, southern red oaks, and water oaks. And to make matters worse, many that survived the freeze in various states of health succumbed to our severe summer drought in 2022. This happened to a 100-year-old post oak on my property.
If you’d like to learn more about this situation and more, the Smith County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Earth-Kind Environmental Education Committee will be hosting a program focused on tree care and replacement options for Tyler and East Texas on Friday June 16 from 9 a.m. to noon. This program will be held in the Tyler Rose Garden Center (420 Rose Park Dr., Tyler).
Practical solutions for tree care will be presented by experienced local certified arborist, Mark Tietz. Trees provide many benefits to everyone including shade, beauty, and financial value. Come learn the steps you can take to figure out what’s wrong with your trees, decide if they can be saved, and how to properly care for them. In addition, I will present information regarding the dead and dying oak trees in our area and recommend other potential replacement species which provide the best long-term investment for East Texas.
Registration will be $20 per person and is payable at the door by cash or check. Door prizes will be awarded as well. Coffee and refreshments will be provided. For more information contact the Smith County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 903-590-2980. More information can be found on the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Smith County Facebook page and web page.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Earth-Kind Education Committee conducts science-based programs to inform the public about sustainable lawn and garden practices. Earth-Kind landscaping uses research-proven techniques to provide maximum garden and landscape enjoyment while preserving and protecting the environment. The objective of Earth-Kind Landscaping is to combine the best of organic and traditional gardening and landscaping principles to create a horticultural system based on real world effectiveness and environmental responsibility.