3,500 Trees to Be Planted in North Texas, Replacing Those Lost or Damaged by Oct. 20 Tornadoes

When tornadoes tore through North Texas on Oct. 20, they not only destroyed homes and businesses — they also uprooted and damaged more than 3,500 trees.

The Texas Tree Foundation wants to help restore the area’s tree canopy by replacing those trees. The foundation also plans to hold community information sessions to teach homeowners how to replace or repair damaged or destroyed trees on their properties.

Before the foundation begins planting trees, it plans to continue taking inventory of lost or damaged trees, along with working with city officials on where to strategically plant them in Dallas, Richardson, Rowlett and Sachse.
“As much as we wish we could immediately restore these neighborhoods back to the landscape we knew and loved, we must thoughtfully and carefully plan,” Janette Monear, the foundation’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We’re eager to not just replant trees that were tragically lost but also offer our expertise in green planning, so we can help rebuild an ecosystem that brings life, vibrancy and greenery back to these neighborhoods.”

An EF-3 tornado started in northwest Dallas and tracked north-northeast for about 15 miles, before coming to an end in east Richardson, producing winds up to 140 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

One of the hardest-hit areas was along Royal Lane. Portions of the roadway are missing trees that were uprooted or destroyed. Near the corner of Royal and Boedeker Street, residents can see buildings along Central Expressway that weren’t visible before, so much of the tree canopy in that area was devastated.

Another tornado also tore through Rowlett, Sachse and Wylie the same night. That tornado was an EF-1 that produced winds speeds up to 100 mph.

The tornadoes came four months after a strong line of storms tore through North Texas on June 9, causing widespread wind damage. A storm that afternoon produced wind gusts up to 71 mph at Dallas Love Field, knocked out power to over 300,000 people and sent a crane crashing into an Old East Dallas apartment building, killing one person and injuring five.

Dallas officials in June estimated the city lost more than 600 trees in its public parks because of the storm, and said the process of replacing them could take up to four years. The cost of replacing those trees would be $1.25 million, said Willis Winters, director of the Park and Recreation Department.

Before both storms, the foundation was already working on a plan to increase Dallas’ tree canopy by 5% to mitigate Dallas’ urban heat island effect.

The foundation said it is now revisiting that plan as it faces a tree deficit. A percentage of how much of the tree canopy cover was lost will be shared by the foundation later in January.

Source: The Dallas Morning News

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