Drought, Then Rain, Toppling Texas Trees

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RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – A giant pecan tree suddenly fell onto Drew Dodson’s house in Richardson. And it’s not even his tree. It once stood in his neighbor’s yard. “It broke from the roots,” Dodson said. “When it fell, it pulled this straight up.”

Lucky for Dodson, he and his family were not home at the time. But he did have to hire crews to cut up what was left of the tree and remove it from his property. Dodson pulled off a tarp from his bathroom skylight to show more damage. “I could have been brushing my teeth right here when that tree fell,” he said.

Hannah Davis is a certified arborist with Dallas Tree Surgeons. “I’ve never seen a pecan this big fall over,” she said.

According to Davis, the number of calls Dallas Tree Surgeons has received about falling trees has jumped by as much as 40 percent this year. “We’ve never had a rash of isolated, a few days apart, giant trees falling like this,” she added.

Davis said that you can blame the weather.

The extended drought that Texas was in had weakened the trees, Davis explained. Then, with all the recent rain we had received, the trees became heavy and saturated — and toppled over.

Now, Davis is advising Dodson on what he can do to keep his own trees from falling over, which, as he has learned, can happen without warning. “I don’t think it takes much of a storm,” Dodson said. “If they’re ready to go, you better not be standing under it.”

Experts suggest that homeowners keep an eye on their trees. Look out for dead limbs, trunks that are leaning and spots where the ground is lifting up around the trees. Also, have your trees trimmed, and consult with a certified arborist.

Follow Jack Fink On Twitter: @CBS11Jack

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