[Ice damage from a winter storm] Declines in forest health are often initiated by stress brought on by weather. Factors such as drought, excess moisture, wind, frost, high temperatures, and sudden changes in climate contribute to tree stress. In extreme conditions, these factors can cause trees to die.

During February 1994, a series of ice storms occurred throughout Maryland. Calvert County, southeastern Anne Arundel County, southeastern Prince George's County, and eastern Charles County were hardest hit, but damage was found in most central, southern, and eastern counties. In seven counties, 23,000 landowners experienced damage to trees. As mentioned earlier, the average homesite increases in value an average of 5-7% when trees are present. If one half of the homesites with trees damaged in the 1994 storms decreased in value by 5%, then the total loss would exceed $47.5 million. Further, more than 3,000 forested acres of pines and hardwoods were damaged.

Freezing rains caused accumulations of several inches of ice on trees causing limbs and trunks to bend and break, and trees to uproot and fall over. Damage from ice storms included:

  • Decreased visual quality of rural and urban forests
  • Decreased feeling of well being to those visiting the forest
  • Increased risk of attacks by insects and diseases causing mortality
  • Increased potential for forest and brush fire due to additional fuels
  • Increased risk to public along roadways and forest trails due to tree damage
  • Economic loss to forest landowners due to forest tree damage; and
  • Economic loss of urban shade trees in communities
The effects of storms like this one affect forests for many years.

Forest Health Report Contents

This information provided by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service

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