(From the city of Joplin)
As referenced in our July 1 press release, the May 22, 2011 tornado seriously damaged or destroyed many trees throughout Joplin and the surrounding areas. Some of the damaged trees may survive. Many more, unfortunately, will not. In many cases, the presence of new leaves or shoots on a damaged tree does not mean that the tree will survive; it may merely mean that the tree has some reserve energy that has been able to produce a new, short-term growth spurt that will eventually die off.
Over the past several weeks, arborists from the Missouri Department of Conservation and other experts have been evaluating the condition of storm-damaged trees. As a result of this effort, trees that can be saved have been marked with a “K” for “Keep”. The remaining trees are considered hazardous and should be removed in order to protect the public for health and safety reasons.
“The foliage that homeowners are seeing now is a false hope. In many instances, the internal plumbing of the trees have been completely disrupted, and as soon as the tree exhausts what energy is stored, the leaves will wilt and die, and the tree won’t leaf-out in the spring. It would be prudent to have these trees removed now,” says Justine Gartner, forestry program supervisor with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
A tree is considered hazardous if the damage it has sustained was caused by the tornado, it poses an imminent threat to public health and safety, the tree is more than 6 inches in diameter and has one or more of the following conditions:
·More than 50 percent of the crown (upper branches and leaves) is damaged or destroyed;
·The trunk is split or branches are broken in such a way that the tree’s heartwood is exposed;
·There are hanging branches (2 inches or greater in diameter) that are creating an immediate threat to public health and safety or to improved property, such as a home, structure or public-use area;
·The tree has fallen or been uprooted;
·The tree is leaning at an angle greater than 30 degrees;
·The storm-damaged tree has been reduced to a stump that has been uprooted and is exposing 50 percent or more of the root ball.
Save an Upright Tree:
The removal of hazardous trees, stumps and/or root balls is authorized as part of the government-funded operation to pick up loose, tornado debris from private, residential property in the Expedited Debris Removal (EDR) area, as well as from most public areas. Currently, this removal is occurring on properties where a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form has been signed or the property has been declared a nuisance.
If you are in the EDR area and have signed an ROE form granting access to the government-funded contractors to clear loose, tornado debris from your property, or your property was declared a nuisance, but you would like to save an upright tree not designated with a “K”, you must contact the City as soon as possible at 417-624-0820 ext. 539 and sign a tree agreement. This agreement acknowledges your responsibility to remove the tree and pay any associated costs, if the tree later dies.
Obtain Help for the Removal of Hazardous Trees, Stumps, and Root Balls:
If you are inside the EDR area and have not granted access to the government-funded contractors to clear debris from your property, there are several options for assistance in the removal of hazardous trees, stumps, and root balls:
·You may remove them yourself. Trees and stumps should be cut flush to the ground. Root balls should be removed and any holes or large depressions left in the ground filled to avoid a hazard.
·You may use volunteers to remove them. Please contact AmeriCorps at 417-625-3558 to request assistance.
·You may grant permission to the government-funded contractors by signing an ROE form to remove hazardous trees, stumps, or root balls only. If your insurance policy does not include coverage for the removal of vegetative debris, there is no duplication of benefit. Therefore, there will not be a cost for this removal. Please contact the City at 417-624-0820 ext. 539 for details.
If you are outside the EDR area, you have the same options to do it yourself, use volunteers, or grant permission to the City to remove the hazardous trees, stumps, or root balls only.
It is your responsibility to ensure the removal of any hazardous trees, stumps, and root balls. Any remaining hazardous trees, stumps, or root balls in the entire disaster area may be treated as a nuisance under City code at any point in the future.
The City recognizes the need for our citizens and community to replace the lost trees. As with the many thousands of people who have donated their efforts to help with Joplin’s recovery, the city has received several offers of assistance to help residents replace and replant trees that were lost or damaged during the tornado, and we are developing other resources to replace lost trees in the fall or next spring when planting times are ideal. Additional information about this program will be available at a later date.
For more information about hazardous, tornado-damaged trees, stumps and root bills, visit the Notes section of our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CityofJoplin.