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Late spring freeze, drought cause area tree damage

MARENGO COUNTY &8212; A recent report from the Alabama Forestry Commission said that a late spring freeze might have caused long-term damage to fruit and food-producing trees across the state.

During the Easter holiday, a rapid cold front may have caused damage to agriculture crops, urban trees and hardwood forests across the Southeastern states. The late season freeze did the greatest damage to plants and trees that were already flowering or leafing out.

Many hardwoods and ornamentals had leafed out early because of the warm temperatures during the previous month.

With the current drought many of these trees have been placed in additional stress, many appearing to die or being slow in producing leaves and flowers.

According to the Marengo County office of the Alabama Forestry Commission, there have not been any findings of significant long-term effects.

While there was no major damage found, there was some minor damage done to certain acorn-producing trees such as red and white oaks, Moore said.

The report states because it takes two years from pollination to produce red oak acorns, red oak acorn production could be affected into 2008.

In order to deal with damage trees, the Forestry Commission recommends waiting to see how particular trees will respond before taking any drastic action.

For landscape trees, the report said, watering will help trees recover along with the increasing temperatures, but one should not fertilize until the end of the next winter in either January or February. Quick release fertilizers will encourage further depletion of the trees&8217; energy, causing more stress.