Rain, cold bring down trees

Rain, cold bring down trees

February 27th, 2010 by Cliff Hightower in News

Wind, snow, ice and rain have affected the tree canopy across Chattanooga in recent months, the city's forester said this week.

"If we have a wet spring, it's going to get worse," forester Gene Hyde said.

A wet fall loosened up the ground, and several snow and ice storms over the last few months helped weigh down trees, Mr. Hyde said. The result is that more trees have uprooted or been blown down than in years past when the winters were dry, he said.

But Mr. Hyde said he did not think the situation would have too great of an impact on the overall canopy. Trees go through a natural cycle, and more trees will grow to replace those falling down, he said.

Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press Chattanooga workers utilize heavy equipment to cut trees that were damaged in recent winter weather near the top of Elder Mountain. Milton Stewart, right, of Asplundh Tree Service, holds a stop sign for southbound traffic.

Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press Chattanooga...

"If there's any losses, it would be short term, I would think," Mr. Hyde said.

City records show that Woods Recycling Center, which turns much of the city's brush into mulch, had an above-average collection of wood in December. More than 2,000 tons of brush were collected in December, compared to about 1,100 tons the year before, records show.

In January, the collections were down from the previous year, and in February collections were the same, records show.


Preston Roberts, of Take Root, will be at Outdoor Chattanooga at 6 p.m. on March 4 to discuss selecting, planting and taking care of trees. For more information, call 423-643-6888.


The Woods Recycling Center, which recycles brush and tree trimmings for Chattanooga, had a large increase in wood in December, but collections have been flat since then, records show. The collections by month are:

* December 2008: 1,126 tons

* December 2009: 2,001 tons

* January 2009: 1,435 tons

* January 2010: 998 tons

* February 2009: 1,259 tons

* February 2010: 1,202 tons

Source: Chattanooga

Justin Holland, the city's sanitation supervisor, said there is probably a reasonable explanation for why collections are down now -- temperature. People just aren't working in their yards and creating brush, he said.

"That has a lot to do with it," he said. "It's just too cold."

Once temperatures warms up, he expects the amount of collections to go up, he said. Spring is the busiest time of year for brush collection, he said.

Beth Painter, owner of Green Thumb Nursery in Hixson, said most homeowners probably would wait until next fall when tree-planting season begins again to replace their downed trees.

But now is a good time for people to plant trees, she said. Trees can be planted between about Thanksgiving and April in this climate, she said.

Still, Ms. Painter said she hasn't seen many people come through the doors of her store looking for replacement trees.

"It's too cold," she said. "It's too cold for the people."