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  • Last modified 24 days ago (June 27, 2019)

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Flooding might damage trees at Marion Reservoir

Many of Marion Reservoir’s trees may survive standing in floodwater, but some could die if conditions don’t dry out soon enough.

It depends on the species of tree.

“Anything can drown,” said Rickey Roberts, a Marion County extension agent, “Trees have to have oxygen to survive.”

He said some trees at the reservoir, like cottonwoods, are tolerant of flooding and may survive for up to six months.

Howard Freerksen, a district forester with Kansas Forest Services, agreed that cottonwoods were flood hardy and said that other species, such as black locusts, may already be dying off.

Freerksen said evergreens growing at the reservoir could also be lost.

“Evergreens don’t withstand flooding as well as some others,” he said. “Evergreens are not hardy.”

Older, more established trees also have an advantage over younger ones, he said, and tree loss may also depend on the duration of the flooding.

Trees that are dormant are not as susceptible to flood loss, but if flooding continues into the growing season, it could harm them, Freerksen said.

Ward Upham, a horticulturalist and extension associate, lists the following species by flood resistance in his newsletter:

  • Red maple, silver maple, pecan, hackberry, persimmon, white ash, green ash, sweetgum, sycamore, eastern cottonwood, pin oak and bald cypress, are flood tolerant.
  • River birch, downy hawthorn, honey locust, swamp white oak, southern red oak, bur oak, willow oak and American elm, are moderately tolerant of flooding.
  • Redbud, flowering dogwood, black walnut, red mulberry, most pines, white oak, blackjack oak, red oak and black oak, are sensitive to flooding.

Last modified June 27, 2019

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