By Brandolon Barnett     

A conversation with Janette Moneer, President & CEO of Texas Trees Foundation on the state of Texas Trees after this summer's record drought and some of her organization's greatest accomplishments.

This summer was not only devastatingly hot, but increadibly damaging to Texas Trees. While estimates of how many of our area trees will be lost are difficult, many of the area's green spaces will not be the same. An organization charged by its mission with shepherding and protecting  our trees, Texas Trees Foundation is a familiar name for those involved with local green initiatives. In this Green Source Coversation we speak with their president and CEO Janette Monear about the state of Texas Trees after this summer's record drought and some of her organization's greatest accomplishments.

What damage has the drought and this summer’s record temperatures done to the population of trees in North Texas?

The drought conditions in Texas this year have been devastating to our trees and the had high temperatures and winds were the nail in the coffin for millions of trees throughout the state.  According to Trees for Houston, the city and surrounding counties could lose as many as 66 million trees due to the unprecedented weather conditions.  

North Texas might not have had as severe a problem but it is anticipated that we will lose hundreds of thousands of trees due to the extreme heat and lack of water.  These trees, both native and non native, just couldn’t acclimate to the extreme conditions and began to collapse.  In addition, due to the weakened condition of the trees we will see secondary problems set in.  Insects and diseases are opportunistic and will attack trees in a weakened state.  

We know that thousands of trees have died and we know that more will continue to die, especially if they don’t get water.  Spring will reveal just how many trees really succumbed to this year’s worst drought.  Many trees will leaf out only to die quickly after they have expended the necessary energy to do so.  Then, we will see the real effects of the drought of 2011 and we will continue to see it for years to come.

What resources are available for property owners to care for trees on their property?

Since the majority of the urban canopy is on private property it will be important to make sure that residents are watering their trees properly.  Since most of the roots of a tree are in the top 6-12” of soil, water needs to penetrate deeply to get it to where the roots can take it up.  This means using soaker hoses or laying an open end hose on the ground and letting the water run until it penetrates to at least 6 inches around the circumference of the tree – all the way to the dripline of the tree.  It’s critical that this watering method is used because irrigation systems typically don’t saturate the soil deep enough to water the roots.  

Although we have Stage 3 watering restrictions, providing water to trees through the above mentioned methods is necessary if we are going to help our trees recover and keep them alive.  The benefits of trees far outweigh the amount of water that trees need.  A big shade tree in a yard not only adds approximately 17% to the property value, but shading your home will save approximately 30% on your energy costs.  In addition, your tree is constantly filtering pollution out of the air and providing oxygen.  Trees matter.  Trees are important and we will need to all work together to make sure that we protect what we have and replant trees so that we have a better quality of life in our neighborhoods and cities.  

I would suggest that if people think that their tree might be dead, contact a local arborist.  It may be dormant, rather than dead but if it does need to be removed – hire a certified arborist.  An ISA certified arborist is a great resource.  Additional information about trees can be obtained from the following websites: or

What are your organizations greatest successes to date?

The Texas Trees Foundation has had many successes so it’s hard to say which of our projects were the best because no matter where we put a tree it makes a difference.  We are about creating healthy communities through tree planting, education, outreach, and policy. 

One of our biggest projects was for the NFL Super Bowl XLV. The project partners were instrumental in making the Super Grow XLV project a success.  We planted more than 6,000 trees with the 12 host communities and schools.  The project brought together volunteers, cities, the NFL Environmental program, Texas Forest Service, the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee, Moore Tree Care, and sponsors.  When you get the synergy of people working together it is amazing what can get done. Our celebration to honor the partners, Touchdown for Trees, was hosted by NFL great Drew Pearson and Super Bowl XLV NFL Host Committee Chair Bill Lively.  The City of Irving received the Best Project Award.  The Foundation received the 2011 Gold Leaf Award for Landscape Beautification from the  International Society of Arboriculture Texas Chapter and the Texas Forest Service for the project.

Pioneer Plaza in Dallas was one of our first projects.  The bronze artwork of 49 steer and 3 cowboys depicts the history of Texas and the long hard trail drives to get cattle to market.  Pioneer Plaza is one of the most visited sites in the City of Dallas and you’ll see images of it in movies and the on the covers of magazines. It’s become an icon for the City of Dallas. Since this project we have really focused on trees but all that we do is based in education and stewardship and is a legacy for our children and grandchildren.

What are the top priorities of Texas Trees Foundation going forward?

Tree North Texas, our newest initiative to plant 3 million trees over the next 10 years, is ambitious but we already have 45 mayors pledged to support the project if we are going to address the environmental challenges that we are facing with the impact of growth that is predicted in North Texas we must begin to integrate trees as part of a community’s infrastructure and focus our efforts regionally.  Our natural environment knows no boundaries and the environmental challenges that we face must be addressed on a regional scale.  Trees are a capital asset and they provide a solution to the problems, especially for watershed management, air quality and energy conservation.  Through this program we will not only educate the public about the importance of trees but we will mobilize people to help plant and care for trees in our communities.  

Through technology and best management practices we will plant the right tree in the right place the right way with strategic partners.  Trees need people and people need trees.  It’s a symbiotic relationship that must be nurtured.  So, we will nurture people and trees and together we’ll get the 3 million trees planted.  

If we don’t continue to plant and care for our trees we’ll look back and realize that we’ve made a big mistake.  The best time to plant a tree was 100 years ago; the second best time is now.

To better understand the environmental, social, economic, and health benefits that trees provide visit  the Texas Trees Foundation website at

Janette Monear is the president and CEO of Texas Trees FoundationBrandolon Barnett is Assistant Editor & Interactive Communications Manager for Green Source DFW. You can send questions, comments, or story ideas to -