Lufkin seedling giveaway highlights tree loss in Hurricane Harvey

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Close to 2,000 oak and other hardwood tree seedlings will be up for grabs Wednesday, in Lufkin.

"It allows us to get seedlings to people to plant back in their yard from trees that may have died during the 2011 drought, maybe a tree had been hit by lighting," said Texas A&M Forest Service district forester Todd Nightingale. "Anything like that just lets people put trees back on the landscape and keep their yards beautiful."

Local tree experts say that the event's emphasis on planting trees is even more crucial this year, due to the large amounts of trees destroyed in Hurricane Harvey.

"When Hurricane Harvey came through, those are stresses placed on trees," Nightingale said. "Rockport, Port Aransas, the trees were all stripped of all their needles. As you moved up the coastline, coming this way, we did have those high wind events, but not near what they saw against the coast."

Any tree, no matter the size, can stand wind speeds of up to 94 miles per hour, which is significantly lower than Harvey's wind speeds of up to 130 mph.

"We did see a lot of damage to individual branches, flooding that took place, especially down to the south of us," Nightingale said. "So, those trees all suffered some. Some of them have bounced back and are just fine, but some of the other trees are stressed."

Arborists suggest looking for root fibers above ground, that could mean the tree is in the process of falling over.

"If you notice any significant change in the overall health of the tree, dieback in the crown, or it's starting to show weeping spots on the said," Nightingale said. "Maybe a mechanical damage on the tree. You'll want a professional to come take a look at those."

All these signs can add up to the tree being more than 50 percent damaged, at which point it's likely to need to be removed.

The seedling giveaway will be held in the Lowe's parking lot in Lufkin Wednesday, starting at 10 a.m.

Seedlings will be given away on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Copyright 2018 KTRE. All rights reserved.