Falling tree almost kills a horse

One local farmer is asking everyone to pay close attention to the trees on their property.

"If you drive down the road, you can't go a mile without seeing two or three dead trees," said Sarah Mitchell, of the Stacey Family Farm in Adair County.

On Aug. 25, Mitchell was working at her coffee shop when her mother called and in a frantic voice, told her that a fallen tree had killed her miniature horse, "Matilda." Mitchell believes the combination of the drought and whirlwinds caused one of the trees to fall to the ground.

"I found her under a tree. It was a horrific scene. She looked dead. And yet was moving a little bit. We took the handsaws out so not to scare her, and cut each branch and pulled her out. And she came to. "

The tree knocked the horse unconscious and left a knot and cut at the top of its head. Luckily, the horse was near the branches of the tree. If the horse was near the base of the tree, Mitchell said it would've died. "Matilda" was not the only horse to get hurt. Another one horse had a shrapnel in its eye, and several had cuts on their backs from fallen branches.

"What scares me is just how quickly it happened without any warning. My hope is that people see this and take action and call a local gardening center or tree service to assess a tree that maybe they think might be dead ."

To help keep the area's trees alive, foresters with the Department of Conservation are urging people to water their trees. They said if you can't stick a screwdriver into the ground near a particular tree, it's time to quench the thirst.

"Mature trees could use watering once a week and younger trees that have maybe only been in ground three years or less, you should probably water them about three times a week," said Yvette Amerman. "Some trees have shut down completely or gone dormant early this year because of the lack of rain and so I really would want to wait until next spring to see how the trees respond and if they're going to come out of the drought and see how they're doing before you actually cut them down."

Amerman said it may take four or five years before we learn the effects of the drought on the trees.

Here's a link to information on how to water trees.