The Dry Weather is Killing Tennessee Trees

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Knoxville (WVLT) - This dry weather has certainly taken it's toll across East Tennessee, and it's no mystery plants aren't getting enough water, but now hundred year old trees may need to come down before it's too late.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt has more.

Trees with shallow roots are having trouble finding enough water to stay alive, and as the tree dies, it becomes a hazard, but officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency say it could cause also cause problems for animals.

"I hate to lose it, they said it's at least 150 years old," homeowner Danielle Haas said.

But unfortunately, this big Oak tree in Danielle Haas's front yard has to come down.

"It could take the power lines down and hit a car in the road," Haas said. "He's pretty sure it's dead and that we need to have it taken down.

"He" is George Steele who has been taking down trees in Tennessee for about seven years. He says he's never seen trees die like this before.

"This is new to me in my experience here, it's new to me, so many of them die and falling," Steele said.

Steele says the hardest hit are shallow root trees like Oaks and Pines. Trees with roots sticking out like this one...

"This tree is a candidate to fall," Steele said.

Steele also says a tree with all dead leaves and limbs are sure signs the tree has no support.

"If a windstorm comes through here the roots are dead, and they're going to fall," Steele said.

But you're not going to see many more of these either, and that's because TWRA says Oak trees aren't producing as many acorns and that could mean problems for wildlife this winter.

"It could have huge impacts on wildlife, there probably over 100 species that rely heavily on acorns for survival," said David Brandenburg from the TWRA.

David Brandenburg with TWRA says the effects may also be felt next year.

"That's Mother Nature's way of thinning out the predators cause these are predators on acorns," Brandenburg said.

And predators like the drought on Oak trees will keep George Steele busy.

"We're probably going to have to do it," Haas said.

Even if they'd rather not.

"Nobody wants to give up their trees," Steele said

TWRA says to let Mother Nature take her course and not to feed the wild animals this winter. Also, George Steele says it's important to take a walk around some of your trees to make sure they're not a hazard to your home.


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