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UF IFAS explains the importance of tree sprouts post-hurricane


PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)- If you have trees in your yard, you may have noticed sprouts popping up all over them, but no worries, these sprouts are actually helping to rebuild our tree canopy.

“Before you had an event like we did with all the damage from the hurricane, we would have told people if you see sprouts coming up from the tree or undesirable branches, to go ahead and prune them off and maintain the structure of the tree in the shape that you want. But now, it’s a different story,” said UF IFAS Bay Co. Horticulture Agent, Julie McConnell.

High winds from Hurricane Michael severely damaged our tree canopy across Bay County, but now the trees are working to recover. “All of this erratic growth, the funny sprouts coming up and down the trunk or the branches that maybe is undesirable or looks a little strange, is the tree’s way of restoring itself and it’s critical that we leave as much of that as possible even if it doesn’t look good,” said McConnell.

These sprouts can be seen all over the trees in the Cove area and even on the stumps of fallen trees, all in an effort to rebuild the tree canopy. While it’s important to leave the sprouts, it’s also important to not fertilize these trees.

“I know our first response is I’m going to help it along and help it grow and I’m going to add fertilizer, but that actually uses more energy and they’re already in short supply of energy so adding a nitrogen fertilizer is going to cause more of an energy reserve deficit in the tree so your best bet is to try not to add any more stress and water it if we have a drought situation,” said McConnell.

So if you see these sprouts and you think they may be an eyesore, just know in the future, they’ll be something great.

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