Officials focus on trees damaged in Central Texas flooding

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WIMBERLEY, Texas (AP) – Texas landowners and arborists face a challenge of removing and replanting trees that were damaged after the Blanco River flooded over Memorial Day weekend in Central Texas.

Sustainable forestry specialist Paul Johnson with the Texas A&M Forest Service said up to 12,000 trees were damaged or destroyed in the flood between Blanco and San Marcos.

Bald cypresses, some hundreds of years old, were the most common type of tree damaged by the floods, Johnson said. Other notable species of trees that also were damaged include walnut, pecan and Texas fall elm.

Forestry experts are trying to get the word out about the proper disposal of the dead or damaged trees as homeowners are working to clean up their properties.

“Sometimes there’s a rush to clean up too quickly,” said Susan Nenney, a Hays County master naturalist. “We want people to focus on their homes and the trees right around their home – but leave the river bank below alone.”

Nenney said downed trees should be left by the river where they are, because they help hold soil in place and will serve as nurseries for new plants to return and help stabilize the river.

The plants help keep streams cleaner and reduce the amount of sedimentation, according to Johnson. The shade they cast also helps regulate water temperatures for creatures that live in the waterway.

“They’re vital for the health of the stream,” he said. “It’s going to take a concentrated effort at reforesting this area to make sure it’s close to what it was before the storm.”

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