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Tree Recovery Still a Focus - KOAM TV 7

Tree Recovery Still a Focus

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

The 2011 tornado destroyed an estimated 17,000 trees in Joplin. In parts of the tornado area it meant a complete loss and the effects are still distinguishable on many trees that survived. 

"Obviously as you get closer to the epicenter of the storm they get worse and worse," Joplin City arborist Mike McDaniel said. He's helping spearhead one of Joplin's more naturistic recovery efforts. Tree re-population.

"The goal is just to plant more trees and get as many in there as possible," McDaniel said. Adding, it isn't just about beautification.

"They mitigate a lot of storm water, it's been shown to reduce crime rates in areas, trees adjacent to houses increase property values by like 7 to 8 percent," McDaniel said.

The city and conservation department have distributed upwards of 14,000 trees since the tornado. But, optimistically, only half of those are expected to survive. And many of the trees still standing from the tornado may be on it's last legs. 

Much of the focus now, is convincing private landowners to plant. And help folks in the tornado area identify distress signals in trees affected by the tornado like dead wood, cracks, or increased insect activity. 

"If that tree can only be expected to be here another 10 years, then it might be time to replace it now," McDaniel said. "We can start a recovery before we even have losses."

The hope is one day, like any scar, trees will serve not only as a reminder of the destruction of the tornado, but as the recovery that's come since.

"Just get a tree in the ground and get it going," McDaniel said. "The cliche is the best time to plant a tree is 30 years ago and the second best time is today."

Anyone thinking about removing, or planting, a tree is encouraged to contact the parks department or the conservation department.

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