- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) - Trees along the Front Range are dying following an unexpected hard freeze last fall and an insect invasion, hitting some trees and bushes especially hard, including ash, cottonwood, elm, willow trees and even hedges on front lawns.

Experts say it may be two or three years before they know the extent of the damage.

Colorado State Forest Service spokesman Keith Wood is advising people to wait-and-see for some trees, but many property owners are opting for removal of trees and bushes that appear to be dead.

Wood said most mountain areas escaped last November’s hard freeze, where temperatures dropped 40 degrees in 15 hours and froze the sap east of the Continental Divide.

He said most trees that have lost more than 50 percent of their leaves that have not grown back this year are probably dead and should be removed. Heavy rains this spring also brought insects that are causing more damage.



Wood said many communities have the funds to replace dead trees on public property. Some communities, including Westminster and Brighton, offer financial help to homeowners.

Meanwhile, tree surgeons are raking in the cash.

“It’s been chaotic and hectic,” said Tony Coca, who like other tree trimmers in Pueblo has been kept busier than usual keeping up with removal of dead or dying trees.

Coca said trees last year kept their leaves longer because fall temperatures remained high, the Pueblo Chieftain reported (https://tinyurl.com/o2m2mds ).

“The trees are confused,” Coca said. “October and November are like spring, so they’re not ready for frost.”

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Information from: The Pueblo Chieftain, https://www.chieftain.com

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