With or without human engagement, trees have always been injured by storms through flooding, salt exposure, toppling, and breakage of stem and crown. Storms are natural agents of disturbance that, over the long term, usually result in healthy trees. But over short periods of time, storms can be devastating to trees in the human environment. Predisposing factors such as tree placement and architecture can reduce or increase injury at a given level of storm severity. Tree response to injury occurs as a cascade or series of biological events, with each element of the series leading to the next. This presentation will explore recent research on tree hormones, sprouting, and infection biology leading to tree survival or mortality. Arboricultural choices are most effective when acknowledging and working within the natural potential of trees to recover and thrive.
Dr. Kevin T. Smith began his research work in forest pathology in the USDA Forest Service lab of Dr. Alex Shigo in 1977. Since that time, Dr. Smith has investigated the role of stress, disease, and beneficial fungi on forest health and productivity. His personal research topics include the compartmentalization of infection in living trees, the wood decay process, and environmental signatures within the tree-ring record. He has published more than 120 research papers and educational articles. Dr. Smith has received national and international awards for excellence in research and science delivery.