Cape, Jackson evaluate tree cleanup after storm

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Amid destruction from last week's ice storm, Rhonda Miller, from left, Denah Siebert and Sherri Uren ventured into Jackson City Park on Monday for a jog. The park is still closed to vehicles. (Kit Doyle)

Jackson city officials say it could be months before the city park is cleaned up.

Trees strategically placed along park streets and trails were splintered, bent and in some cases uprooted after last week's ice storm. The park, known for several large trees around Hubble Creek, lies within one of Jackson's hardest-hit neighborhoods.

Shane Anderson, superintendent of parks, said salvaging trees will be a "tree-by-tree decision" and that the city will try to save as many of them as possible. He said he thought about 80 percent of the trees could be spared and that most of the damage was confined to peripheral limbs. The city is still assessing the damage, but Anderson said a lot of the maple trees will be lost. How quickly the park gets completely cleared of storm debris relies on volunteer cooperation and weather, Anderson said.

The Jackson Board of Aldermen tonight will consider a motion to accept a $74,375 bid for Floyd and Sons Tree service of Cape Girardeau for a tree trimming program.

The storm affected thousands of trees over the Southeast Missouri, but horticulture columnist Paul Schnare said it could have been worse.

Most of the trees that sustained severe damage were in poor health anyway, and the weight of the ice combined with high winds brought them down, he said.

On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest level of tree damage, Schnare described the storm as a "three or four."

Damage was not as widespread in Cape Girardeau as it was in Jackson.

In Cape Girardeau, one large tree in Arena Park was uprooted, but aside from that, broken branches constituted the majority of storm damage, said Dan Muser, the city's parks and recreation director.

City officials have been waiting until the ground recovers from the storm before assessing the damage, but Muser said he doesn't think many of the trees will need to be removed.

Capaha Park and Arena Park seemed to suffer the most damage, particularly because those parks have larger trees than smaller parks.

Cleanup will likely start today, Muser said.

The damage to trees certainly wasn't limited to parks. Trees in residential yards all over saw damage. As thousands of homeowners assess their own tree damage, they'll have to make decisions on what trees can be saved.

Schnare said indicators a tree may need removal is if the main stem shows a hollow area. If power lines or buildings appear to be in danger from a tree that has been split, it should be removed as well.

To preserve trees that have been badly damaged or lost limbs because of the ice, Schnare advised getting rid of any unsightly stubs so the tree can heal over those areas.

In the spring, he said, home owners concerned about proper regrowth should fertilize trees that suffered damage with tree and shrub food and provide plenty of water during the warm months.

The idea is to eliminate as much unnecessary stress as possible so it doesn't interfere with regrowth, he said.

335-6611, extension 245

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