Tree & River Recovery

Don't Give Up on Your Trees - Let the Blanco River Heal Itself

Compiled from conversations with the Texas Forest Service

  • The best thing you can do for your trees and river bank is to leave them alone. Remove only those items that are a safety hazard. Some trees may recover in the right conditions. You'll save a lot of time and money while helping the recovery of vegetation and the river.
  • Beware of scammers. Use bonded companies to do your work. If you are trying to save or trim a tree, use a certified area arborist. Be wary of advice to "clean up" the river.
  • Leave damaged trees and woody debris in place along the river bank unless they pose a safety or structural threat. For now, do not burn debris, saw it up, or remove it. The wood helps to stabilize banks and slow water, and new plants will establish themselves in the debris piles. Even damaged trees will help hold the soil in place. This is nature's way to hasten recovery.
  • Minimize the use of heavy equipment around trees and especially along your river bank. The weight of equipment will compact saturated soil and tree roots beneath the surface, making it more difficult for the trees and the river bank to recover. Trees have a huge root area, extending 2­3 times the length of branches or canopy. If you must use heavy equipment around trees, protect the area with 6­8 inches of mulch, topped with plywood if possible.
  • More information for our area will be available soon from the Texas Forest Service as well as next steps to take.

Taking the Long View on Tree and River Recovery

A Message from the Hays County Master Naturalist Chapter
Steve Nelle, retired, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, May 27, 2015

  • Be patient - natural recovery processes are very effective when allowed to work.
  • The broken and uprooted cypress can actually be a good thing for the future health and stability of the river
  • Change our attitude about what is a beautiful riparian area - they are not supposed to look clean and manicured but rather thick with wood and vegetation.
  • Do not attempt to hire contractors to repair banks, remove gravel, or alter the channel.
  • Leave large and small woody debris in place. Do not burn it or remove it or saw it up in small pieces. The wood helps to dissipate energy, and stabilize banks, channel and floodplain.
  • Minimize or eliminate tractors and large equipment unless absolutely necessary.
  • Take photos now and every 6 - 12 months - repeat photos at fixed point photos to show the recovery process. This will be very meaningful in the future.
  • These debris piles is where new plants will establish best. This is nature's way to hasten recovery.

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