Flooding potential tree hazard

COVINGTON - The Georgia Forestry Commission is warning residents to monitor flood waters for the dangerous effect they may have on trees.

"Flooding has been known to damage trees by loosening the soil that supports their root systems," said Beryl Budd, senior forester. "It is important that people stay away from leaning or uprooted trees and contact a professional to help them correct the situation."

According to Budd, in areas that are flooded for an extended period of time, trees can suffer from the accumulation of organic toxins in the soil and the reduced flow of oxygen to the roots. Various factors affect a tree's flood tolerance including its species, height and age, in addition to the season and air temperature.

The typical warning sign of flood damage in trees is curling and wilting of leaves, followed by leaf fading, browning and loss. It is important to recognize that, as flood waters recede from upstream areas, downstream locations may be subjected to temporary, localized flooding that can affect trees.

The GFC recommends homeowners exercise extreme caution when clearing downed branches and limbs. Overhead work can be especially hazardous, especially when the use of a chainsaw is required. Certified arborists can best advise homeowners on limb removal and tree survivability.

For more information on flooding and tree health, visit the Georgia Forestry Commission Web site at GaTrees.org.