Restoring scorched land with new pine seedlings

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — In the past 4 years Bastrop County has fallen victim to two wildfires that not only destroyed homes, but the beautiful trees that attract tourists from all over the state. The county hopes to rebuild what they lost by planting 10,000 trees.

The Texas A&M Forest service report that 143,000 trees were destroyed by the Hidden Pines fire this past October. That combined with the damage of the 2011 Complex fire, leaves the county in worse condition in terms of their forestry.

On Friday, Dec. 18, the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team plans to hand out 10,000 Drought Hard Loblolly Pine Seedlings to community members. They will be handing out the seedlings at the American Legion on Loop 150 across from the entrance to the Bastrop State Park from from 1:30 to 6:00 pm or while supplies last.

For homeowners like Randy Neal, whose backyard is still healing from 2015, that is exciting news. “I will be sitting in line, waiting to get some too because I am always planting new trees,” Neal says.

Unfortunately, out of 800 trees the Tree Folks planted at his home in 2011 only a few survived. “[Tree folks] expected 1/8  of them to live, but I don’t know if that many lived through the drought and everything,” Neal says.

Sheila Lowe with the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team says that it has been tough for new trees to survive in the county because of the weather. She says that the wind knocks down dead trees, and those trees take up space where new trees can be planted.

Lowe also says they had volunteers to help move those dead trees but volunteers have now slacked off and they need more. If you are interested in helping the recovery team remove dead trees you can contact them at 512-521-3001.

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