Saturated soil plus wind may equal downed trees

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Recent rain has saturated the ground in East Texas, in some areas more than others. And it can be the straw that breaks the camel's back when it comes to causing a tree to fall.

At Gilmer Road and Camille Drive in Longviiew Monday, there was a sight that was causing drivers to do a double-take. Two very large trees growing right next to each other fell in opposite directions near the Camille Acres Baptist Church Sign.

Gregg County Ag Extension Agent Randy Reeves says it's not that common, but can happen if trees are in a weakened state.

"Any time you get saturated ground like that, a lot of your support for your roots, especially if you have a windstorm involved, can push them over," Reeves said.

He says he doesn't see it as often with pine trees since they have a long tap root, but with hardwoods the roots are:

"In more of a ball fashion; their roots. Yeah, they can be expansive but still when you get that much water, when given time, you can have problems," Reeves said.

He says standing water around a tree can be an issue.

"Hopefully you have a little watershed away from the tree to where the water will drain and go somewhere," Reeves stated.

But, even if water stands a few days:

"You know, trees are designed to withstand even standing water for a period of time, but where the ground is saturated is where you can have problems," Reeves explained.

He says healthy trees usually withstand soggy soil, but issues may develop with diseased or insect-infested trees. But as for each of these particular trees:

"It probably had some issues with its roots. And all the wet soil coupled with the wind probably blew it over, probably finished it off," Reeves added.

Reeves also added trees are just like people: they get old, too.

One of the trees fell around the Camille Acres Baptist Church sign, but did not damage it, and very little of the large trees fell onto Gilmer Road.

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