Seep water recedes, trees start dying in East Cape Girardeau, Ill.

Seep water recedes, trees start dying in East Cape Girardeau, Ill.

EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU, Ill. (KFVS) - Flooding on the Mississippi River damaged more than people’s homes in East Cape Girardeau, Ill.

It also is harming the environment by suffocating trees along the river banks and in people’s yards.

For weeks, seep water was surrounding the root systems of trees in East Cape Girardeau effectively cutting the plants off from oxygen, and now the trees are starting to fall apart.

Michelle Cochran lives in East Cape Girardeau and said the damage to trees in her yard is giving her nightmares.

“Well I worry that it’s either going to fall and destroy my house because it’s such a big tree, or it’s going to fall and destroy my neighbor’s house," she said.

Every day Cochran cleans up branches and leaves that are falling off a large tree looming over her home.

Cochran said the same thing is happening to a shrub and a smaller tree in her front yard as well as to her neighbors.

“If you drive around you’ll notice a lot of the trees are loosing limbs and leaves," Cochran said. "Over at my neighbors behind us, his tree is completely empty like my Dogwood out front is completely empty.”

Kevin Brunke with the Missouri Department of Conservation said certain trees start falling apart when seep water suffocates it’s root system.

“Some trees like white oaks or dogwoods or red buds are not very tolerant at all to flood water," Brunke said. "So if you have trapped water on a tree for a prolonged period of time it has a higher chance of getting damaged. Stagnant still water is more hard on trees than flowing water.”

When trees are stressed Brunke said they’re also more susceptible to insect damage and infections from a bacteria or a fungus.

If a tree looks dead and is near a home Brunke recommends cutting it down but if the plant still has signs of life he said it can make a comeback on it’s own.

“If you wait a year, if the tree is stressed and it goes into this fall and has plenty of energy in it’s root system it has a good chance of coming back next Spring,” Brunke said. “If you have repeated flooding one Spring after another it just increases the likelihood that the tree will decline even further or die.”

Cochran said she plans to take the proactive approach before a strong storms knocks anything over.

“I’ve got a tree trimming business that is going to come a give some estimates, so hopefully it will be something I reasonably can afford," Cochran said.

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