Arbormageddon Ice Storm Hits Austin’s Trees
February 08, 2023
Most individuals’s gardens get darker over time. Mine is getting sunnier. Excessive climate occasions over the previous 15 years – droughts, hotter summers and the Snowpocalypse – have burdened and thinned the cover of bushes in my backyard. Every week in the past, on February 1st, Austin took one other beating when a ice storm shocked. Arbormageddon, the native wags quickly nicknamed him.
It wasn’t that chilly – a level or two beneath zero – however nonetheless greater than half an inch of ice encrusted Austin’s bushes. Stay oaks maintain their leaves all winter. Overloaded with ice and burdened by excessive climate lately, a lot of them could not deal with the pressure. For 2 days and one night time, we shuddered to listen to bushes snapping, branches snapping, and rumbling round our home.
Timber throughout town additionally fell on energy traces, leaving houses and companies darkish and chilly. On our block, 6 days handed earlier than energy was restored. After seeing the injury throughout town, I am certain Austin Power crews and people borrowed from different cities have been working as quick and as arduous as they might, in harmful circumstances, to recuperate the ability traces.
We’re fortunate that our house and automobiles, deck and patio are largely untouched. Some fencing panels have been broken and we misplaced an air con unit.
About 50% of my understory bushes, like this purple berry possum, have been crushed by falling branches. However the agaves, the good yuccas, the bottle tree and the stucco partitions survived. It was unhealthy, nevertheless it might have been quite a bit worse.
Alongside our avenue, damaged oak bushes regarded as if a small twister had handed by means of.
Timber in my neighbor’s yard
The crepe myrtles held up effectively total. This one at a neighbor’s home was stunning, all coated in ice.
Whereas unhappy for our bushes, I’ve discovered moments to understand, like the sting of my driveway, stunning even in late winter and below a layer of ice. There are not any bushes right here to crush something! Lengthy stay the decorative grasses, yuccas, purple skullcap and ‘Powis Fortress’ sagebrush.
Pine muhly (muhlenbergia dubia), considered one of my favorites arduous as nails, coated in ice
Whale Tongue Agaves (agave ovatifolia) sailed by means of the ice storm, as did the purple yuccas (Hesperaloe parviflora). The Anacacho orchid on the again has bent to the bottom below the ice, however has already straightened up. The toothless sotol on the metal tube could also be a goner; he additionally did not just like the Arctic freeze in December.
squid agave (agave bracteosa) can simply deal with temperatures as little as 30 and ice, even in a pot. The Japanese maple bent, however didn’t break – and, thankfully, the fallen oak branches didn’t hit it.
My husband spent the weekend sawing and hauling branches and piling them alongside the road. I did the identical with smaller members on Monday. On Tuesday, our arborist arrived and spent all the day eradicating harmful damaged branches from the cover, in addition to large branches on the bottom that have been too huge for us to deal with simply.
What Issues Appeared Like Round Our Yard Earlier than All of the Cleanup
The Texas mountain laurel my daughter grew from seed—which had largely recovered from Snowpocalypse injury—was hit immediately by a big stay oak department.
Half of it has been ripped off and the opposite facet is now tilted at a forty five diploma angle. I believe it’ll stay although. Let’s impale him to attempt to get him again on his ft.
The owl boxwood has misplaced about half of its crown. A big department fell into the pool. One other on the stucco wall. The chairs and the wall have been spared – yay!
One other angle reveals the extent of injury to the tree.
A big department fell throughout the yard, nevertheless it missed the shed and the bottle tree. Two of the boxwood balls supported some damaged branches, however at the least they’re nonetheless standing.
This cluster of stay oak bushes, which have been recovering from having buried their root zone a very long time in the past, misplaced vital branches. Hope they’re okay. A metallic arbor (within the foreground) took a direct hit that broke it.
This area goes to be a lot sunnier and hotter this summer season. However meaning totally different vegetation to experiment with. I used to be inclined to plant sedge in my inventory tank planter. However now, with much less shade, I am contemplating the silver horse’s foot in spite of everything.
Within the meantime, till town picks up our Arbormageddon stack or our tree man can get to it, we’re having fun with our newly empowered house. This six-foot-tall pile of stacked branches (not together with the total day’s price of cuttings our tree man pulled) extends alongside our avenue frontage, from right here alongside the island mattress…
…to the property line throughout the driveway.
If solely he might maintain the deer at bay, it could be a priceless trade – hah!
Prune broken oaks? Do that to keep away from spreading oak wilt, which kills bushes.
If in case you have frost-damaged oaks, particularly stay oaks or purple oaks, this is what you might want to know. O wilted oak tree disease it’s deadly to most stay oaks and purple oaks that catch it, and spreads simply from a diseased tree to a wholesome one. The fungus that causes oak wilt spreads in two methods: 1) underground by means of interconnected tree roots and a pair of) above floor through a beetle that’s drawn to tree sap (from cuts and wounds) and is most energetic February by means of June in central Texas.
We’re presently in not prune months for stay oaks to forestall the unfold of oak wilt. Clearly, you might want to lower harmful overhanging branches out of your bushes proper now so they do not fall on you or passers-by. Do that as quickly as doable and ensure these cuts are instantly sealed with paint – proper when the lower is made to forestall the beetle from stepping into it.
However do not lower all of the ugly tears and amputated limbs in your oak bushes now. The bushes can have sealed these wounds inside the first few days after the harm. Reducing them down now simply opens your bushes to publicity to oak wilt. Schedule a non-emergency beauty pruning in July or later. Late autumn is finest, when bushes are now not burdened by summer season. Right here in central Texas, oak pruning must be completed from July by means of January, when the oak beetle is much less energetic. Additionally, bear in mind to sanitize your pruning instruments earlier than you begin and between bushes to forestall the oak wilt fungus from spreading from tree to tree.
Click here for more information on oak wilt and how to prevent it from spreading.
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