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Tough Times Ahead For Trees

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Tulsa's recovery from the ice storm continues in the city parks where some of the best trees have the worst damage. Tulsa's recovery from the ice storm continues in the city parks where some of the best trees have the worst damage.
Big trees and big limbs are snapped apart, and visitors can expect to hear the sound of machinery for the next several months. Big trees and big limbs are snapped apart, and visitors can expect to hear the sound of machinery for the next several months.
For now, the city is focusing on safety, removing dangerous limbs while evaluating the damage. For now, the city is focusing on safety, removing dangerous limbs while evaluating the damage.

Tulsa's recovery from the ice storm continues in the city parks where some of the best trees have the worst damage. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports the storm made a mess of the parks, and it will likely be months before they're cleaned up. It will be years before the full extent of the damage is known.

The ice storm left heavy damage to Tulsa's Mohawk Park, where mature trees in a rustic setting were especially vulnerable. The view before the storm was what attracted runner Scott Smith to visit Mohawk.

"It's sort of like being out in the country in town," said Scott Smith.

But now, big trees and big limbs are snapped apart, and visitors can expect to hear the sound of machinery for the next several months. All of Tulsa's 121 parks, covering more than 6,000 acres, have tree damage. A few of them have damage to play sets and buildings.

There are still so many dangling tree limbs that some Tulsa parks are still closed for safety reasons. The parks department estimates as many as one third of the trees are so badly damaged they'll have to be removed.

"We're hoping that number will go down as we peruse the parks and look at them individually," said City of Tulsa horticulturist Maureen Turner.

Woodward Park had some of Tulsa's best park trees, but now has some of the worst damage. Some of the oldest and tallest trees have limbs torn off and the ones that survive will be more vulnerable to disease and insects.

"There's a lot of hidden problems with trees you can't see from the ground. And, a good rain or wind and when they leaf out, it could change that situation," said horticulturist Maureen Turner.

For now, the city is focusing on safety, removing dangerous limbs while evaluating the damage, which may not be fully realized for several years. The city is working on a replanting effort to replace what's been lost. That effort could extend beyond the parks to help people plant trees that work with Tulsa's weather and won't interfere with power lines.

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