Nursing Trees Back To Health

There may be hope for your storm battered trees that you think are beyond saving. The hurricane destroyed many trees, but those who attended a free workshop Thursday found out that some damaged trees can spring to life once again with a little tender loving care.

Walking through her Saucier yard, Lynn Grier says, "I had a 40 foot oak back here where we're walkin' to now that fell which also took out a cherry tree."

There's no hope for Grier's fallen oak, but she hopes to nurse back to health a beloved pear tree that Hurricane Katrina battered.

"This is my pear tree and it used to stand upright as you can see it's leaning now and one of the things they talked about in one of the sessions this morning was to realign the center of gravity for the tree by cutting off some of these branches that are now leaning way over to the ground," she says.

Grier got those helpful hints at a tree workshop held in Gulfport. Experts offered advice on saving storm damaged trees and recognizing those that are a lost cause.

Rick Olson of the Mississippi Forestry Commission says, "If the top of your tree is gone chances are that the tree isn't gonna grow anymore and may be time to have the tree removed, that's one thing. Also, if you have large areas of inner bark exposed where rot can get started it may be time to have the tree removed."

Katrina's winds caused Grier's pear tree to lean over. Olson says most trees along the Coast sustained wind and root damage. The damage could qualify Grier and other home and business owners for a tax break after getting an appraisal from a landscaper.

"We're looking at repair of trees, replacement of damaged trees that are beyond use and all that can be packaged together. People who lost 10, 20, 30 trees, put that together and it comes up to be a very significant tax deduction," says Steven Dicke of Mississippi State University.

Grier says that's great news and now that she knows what to do, she's determined to make sure her pear tree bears fruit again next year. Experts say you can't just push a tree back in the ground that has been uprooted because the tree won't be structurally safe after losing its anchoring roots.