While annual rainfall this year across Allen County has relieved drought conditions caused by shortages in 2011-12, the effects remain.
Tree trimmers, especially, are dealing with the damages.
“It’s been a lot busier than the past couple of years,” Albert Radford, owner of Radford Tree Service, said. “It’s got something to do with the economy too, people tend to put trees on the back burner.”
Trees hit by the drought have been shedding their limbs over the past year, as well as those affected by blight and insects.
Mike Standford, owner of S&S Tree Services, said drought and insects have been a bane for many of the trees in the area.
“The trees that took it the hardest were probably the maples,” he said. “It (the drought) put them under a lot of stress, but we lose a couple of them every year.”
Radford said it’s odd for the hearty tree to be affected so much by the elements.
“Usually, they can stand quite a bit,” he said.
Radford said his company has two to three weeks of work piled up in front of them — people are wanting to get trees cleared out before the cold sets in. In addition to maples, other trees have been killed by Dutch elm disease and boring insects. Radford said the insects cut through the bark to get to the moisture that runs out to the limbs. The open wound in the tree leaves them weak and open to the elements.
Dutch elm disease has been around for many years, he said, and hit especially hard in the 1970s. But, he said the tree services in town still have to remove trees afflicted by the blight every year.
Stanford said it is important to spot trees that are being infested, and take them down before the rampage spreads to other trees in the area — which it can do quickly.
“Once it gets in one tree, it keeps on spreading,” Stanford said.
“I’ve never seen them survive yet,” Radford added.
FOR THOSE with dead trees on their property, it is important to take action quickly.
“Just because the limbs are dead, doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to survive,” Radford said. Dead limbs will draw moisture and nutrients away from the living sections of the tree, ultimately weakening it.
Stanford said many people let their trees go too long with dead limbs and extra foliage, which makes an impact on its health. He said it’s always better to call sooner than later.
Radford said despite many people’s opinions, winter is the perfect season to maintain trees and clean out dead limbs. He said when the foliage is off of the tree, it is easier to spot dead limbs and areas being affected on the tree.
“If there is a diseased tree, don’t keep it around,” he said.
Radford Tree Service has been in operation since 1952, when Albert’s father started the business. He has three to four employees at any time and will make calls within a 25- to 30-mile radius from his office is Gas.
Stanford said S&S Tree Services started working in Iola when an ice storm hit in 2001, and they have been trimming ever since. His workers will travel with 40 miles from Iola for jobs.
Both agreed that a proactive attitude with trees is the most important thing for keeping them healthy, no matter what the season.