HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — This extreme heat is impacting everything around us, including our trees.

Some tree businesses said more people are calling about limbs randomly breaking off.

‘Healthy looking trees are dropping large branches’

It’s something Greg Webb said he’s seen personally while living in Wimberley.

“Walking down to the river and a pretty big limb, probably about this big diameter, just fell out of the blue,” Webb said. “Then we got down to the river and we hadn’t been there 10 minutes and right across the river, a really large pecan, a limb fell.”

He said the tree limbs just started falling recently.

“These very healthy looking trees are dropping large branches,” Webb said.

broken tree limb
Webb said it sounded like a loud crack when a tree limb fell near his backyard. (Photo: KXAN)

One of them barely missed his fence. Webb said it fell on a calm day with no wind.

“It was a huge limb,” Webb said. “You wouldn’t think one of these trees is going to lose some big limb.”

While we’re not out of the heat just yet, Webb said he’s looking forward to some relief in the future for both him and the trees.

“Hopefully everybody would get a little bit of break with a little rain and some cool weather,” he said.

‘Taken its toll on them’

It’s caused business to pick up for Wes Sanders. He’s the owner of Tree Butler, a land clearing and tree trimming business out of Dripping Springs.

“I see it on small trees, big trees, old trees, young trees,” Sanders said.

He said Mother Nature is responsible for this.

“With the storm and then again with the heat,” Sanders said. “It’s really affected the trees and it’s taken its toll on them.”

That’s led to more calls for debris clean up and tree trimming recently.

“They’re really really wanting to remove the trees that have leaned a little bit towards the house,” Sanders said.

Deeper look at the cause

The Austin nonprofit, Tree Folks, said some of the trees are very stressed from the weather and they’re using up all their stored energy.

“If a lot of leaves are browning and dying off, that reduces the tree’s ability to photosynthesize and create new energy. In addition, if the trees aren’t getting enough water this summer, that stored energy is only going to take them so far before they struggle and may begin to see branches die out and fall off.”

Tree Folks

The Texas Trees Foundation told KXAN trees can exhibit stress for years.

They said external symptoms of stress include:

  • Wilting
  • Leaf drop
  • Dormancy
  • Leaf burn
  • Scorched leaves.

The foundation said internally trees are experiencing stress as well.

“During the day, with sunlight, trees produce heat resisting proteins but at night with our extreme temperatures, they are not able do this thus you may be seeing more stress symptoms,” said Texas Trees Foundation Urban Forestry Manager Rachel McGregor.

Both Tree Folks and the Texas Trees Foundation recommend watering trees if possible.