Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when promoting the survival of vegetation after a disaster:
Assess the trees. If most buds on the tree are still green, moist, and flexible, they have a good chance of survival
If you are having problems determining the condition of a tree, wait until the next spring to assess again.
Fire-stressed trees are prone to beetle attack. Look for pink to red-colored pitch on tree branches. If the tree is beetle infested, it must be removed.
Irrigate fire-stressed plants as soon as possible after returning home. Water the ground beneath trees for the full width of their drip line (the circumference of the canopy, branches, and a few feet further) until the soil is moist to about 12-15 inches in depth.
After a fire, you may also not be able to immediately determine the survival rate of tree crops such as avocados. It's a good idea to wait for at least three months to see if there is new growth on the tree before determining its survival.
If your property has been left with an abundance of dead or dying vegetation after a wildfire, it is vital that it be removed. Dead vegetation is not only aesthetically unappealing, but it also invites insects and diseases that may affect healthy surrounding vegetation. In the case of an abundance of dead vegetation, it is wise to contract a registered professional forester. Professional foresters can help sell or dispose of trees as well as plan and carry out the harvesting and reforestation of your land. In addition, the County of San Diego offers removal of dead, dying, or diseased trees on both private and public land.
For more information regarding the San Diego County Fire Safety and Fuels Reduction Program and what you should know about tree removal, contact the Forest Area Safety Task Force (FAST) at:
Hotlines: (866) 402-6044 or (858) 495-5494
While landowners are not required by law to reforest their property, it can be very advantageous to the development of a new and healthy forest. For more information, contact the California Forest Improvement Program (CFIP).
Forest Steward Helpline: 1-800-738-TREE
One of the most damaging effects of a disaster to your land is soil erosion. Under normal circumstances, roots help to stabilize soil, while stems and leaves slow water down, giving it time to absorb or soak into the soil. These protective functions can be severely compromised or even eliminated by fires. In the aftermath of a fire, the potential for flooding, debris flows, and erosion is greatly increased. Fortunately there are many things you can do to protect your home or business from these damaging effects.