Exceptional drought takes a toll on trees - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Exceptional drought takes a toll on trees

September 13, 2007

Albany   -   The unusually dry weather caused many trees not to fill out, to drop their leaves, or to change color prematurely.  Now the Georgia Forestry Commission is asking you to keep a watchful eye on trees in your yard. 

People who live on West Second Avenue in Albany have one of the shadiest, historic streets in town, but this year they're worried some of their old oaks are being stressed by a lack of rain.

 "I have noticed looking down the canopy of the street over the street, I have noticed trees a little thinner now than this time last year," said West Second Avenue Resident Mark Brimberry.   

It's an impact of the drought, many trees across Georgia are shutting down because of a lack of water.

"What the trees will actually start doing this time of year, they're cutting their losses, they realize that they don't need to be trying to grow anymore this summer they're not getting enough water so they'll start to lose their leaves," said Georgia Forestry Commission Forester Lance Boyer.   

This is what you need to be looking for younger trees, that have little or few leaves on their branches, Foresters say these are trees that are undergoing stress.

 "What the tree is doing from the lack of water, it's cutting off the water supply to these leave and its going to drop these leaves so it can save what little water it is able to get," said Boyer.

Foresters say you shouldn't worry yet about your trees, most can bounce back with a little rain over the winter.

"If they have enough starch in their system, they'll be able to re-leaf out in the spring those that don't have enough starch in their system, what will happen to those, they will succumb to disease," Boyer said.  

That could mean beetles or other pests, but residents along this street hope it won't come to that.

"There's a lot of history with these trees and I would hate to lose them," Brimberry said.  

Because of the drought, pine beetles have damaged pine trees in three central Georgia Counties and in Stewart County closest to us. 

If you have questions about a tree in your backyard, you can contact the Georgia Forestry Commission in your area, and they will send a representative out to check the tree.

To locate a certified arborist, and for information about drought damage and tree health issues, visit the Georgia Forestry Commission website at www.gatrees.org or call 1-800-GA TREES.
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