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So many downed trees following strong wind, rainstorms in Oregon

 
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Location: Oregon
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After the recent heavy rain and windstorms over the holidays, there are so many fallen trees in the forest. 100s of trees, so many that the forest is criss-crossed with them, some snapped like toothpics, others ripped from at the roots. These are seemingly healthy trees, mostly Douglas Fir, maybe some hemlock too. This is in northern Oregon, in the Mt. Hood forest and on Larch Mountain. Is this normal, a trees weakened from the drought, excessive rain weakening their connection at the roots, because of the strong wind gusts of 75 mph, or a combination of these?

This near the Columbia River Gorge, an area that routinely gets strong winds especially in winter.

I spend lots of time walking in these forests, and this has made me so sad to see all these beautiful trees downed. It reminds me of what happened in north California after the atmospheric river last year about this time, we lost 1000s of trees, mostly oak, pine, and fir. Any insights?
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downed trees following strong wind, rainstorms in Oregon
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trunk snapped downed trees following strong wind, rainstorms in Oregon
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road blocked downed trees following strong wind, rainstorms in Oregon
 
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Serena Hartwell wrote: Is this normal, a trees weakened from the drought, excessive rain weakening their connection at the roots, because of the strong wind gusts of 75 mph, or a combination of these?


I think it is probably entirely normal. From the photos you post, the one snapped through appears to have a rotten patch in the trunk so was weaker there.
It's sad to see, but the mature trees coming down make gaps in the canopy for shorter lived plants and baby trees, so nature will quickly fill the gaps given a chance - succession in action.
We find that more trees are knocked over after a prolonged rainy period - the soil is softened by the rain so they are easier to knock over. If the area hasn't had strong winds for a few years again this makes the loss of large trees more likely too. The few large trees we have regularly go through 80 mph gusts, but if that wind was in Southern UK there would be much more damage.
 
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You are definitely correct. Weak trees can't deal with the things strong ones can. Drought, overcrowding, disease and just plain having it too easy for too long creates trees that are prone to fail. Sucks to see but just think of how happy the remaining trees will be with their increased share of resources!
 
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Nothing lives forever. Just like some animals die of old age and some are killed sooner, the same happens with plants. I guess since they're so big and can live for centuries it catches our attention more. But now the small trees will be able to grow to take their place, and they will house and feed countless insects, animals, and plants. Nature knows how to do nature.
 
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Serena, a belated welcome to the forum.

Serena said, "because of the strong wind gusts of 75 mph, or a combination of



We had a lot of damage from the 2020 ice storm here in Texas.  Our damage was from the weight of the ice.

If your area did not have ice and snow then my guess would be the strong winds gusts.
 
Serena Hartwell
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Thanks for your thoughtful replies. I do understand that there’s a cycle and the young trees will now have access to the light shining through the canopy so they can thrive.

We had no ice this time, just extreme rainfall followed by strong winds. It just seems the trees are beginning to show signs of stress, even in seemingly lush and green Oregon. I love the PNW forests and the abundance of life they support…and don’t want to see it disappear though of course change is inevitable!
 
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We had straight line winds come through our town a few years back.
It took out all the weak trees and we haven't had many trees/limbs come down in storms since then.

Got quite a few oak limbs out of the deal and we inoculated them with shitake spawn.
gift
 
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