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Less Shade Around Texas Homes Due to Drought February 24, 2012
Dead tree in Texas sun
2011 was the driest year on record in Texas, as well as the second-hottest.
The blistering heat and record drought that baked Texas last year killed approximately 5.6 million shade trees in urban settings across the state, according to the Texas Forest Service.

That represents the death of about 10 percent of the entire state’s urban forest, which is in addition to the half-billion rural, park and forest trees also killed by the drought.

And while drenching rains have helped ease drought conditions in many areas of the Lone Star State in recent weeks, the threat of future arboreal fatalities is far from over.

The forest service’s lead researcher, Pete Smith, says many of the surviving trees have been stressed beyond repair.

The loss of the shade trees could cost up to $280 million in additional utility bills.

Restrictions that limited many homeowners to watering their property only once every week or two weeks have been lifted for the first time since April 2011.

Photo: File