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Texas Drought Kills Hundreds of Millions of Trees

By By Vickie Frantz, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
December 27, 2011, 8:56:09 AM EST

The severe drought that has gripped Texas this year has taken a toll on the state's trees.

The Texas Forest Service has gathered information on trees that have died in each region. Preliminary estimates show that as many as 500 million trees have died this year from the drought.

The study, done in conjunction with local forestry professionals, estimated that between 100 million and and 500 million trees with a diameter of 5 inches or larger have died. The range equates to between 2 to 10 percent of the states trees.

"I think what is surprising foresters with this drought, relative to other dry periods in the past 10-20 years, is the number of large, mature trees that are succumbing," said Dr. Chris Edgar. Edgar is a Forest Research Analyst for the Texas Forest Service.

The Texas Forest Service foresters will use aerial imagery in the spring to do a more in-depth analysis of tree deaths.

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In the spring, trees that may have gone into early dormancy could show signs of a comeback.

The Texas Forestry Service home page has links for homeowners with watering tips and how to assess whether a tree is dead or in early dormancy.

"During this time of year, it's difficult to tell in some cases if a tree is truly dead. And keep in mind that the drought is ongoing. We fully expect mortality percentages to increase if the drought continues," said Burl Carraway, Sustainable Forestry Department Head.

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