MSU Professor's Flooded Tree Study - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

MSU Professor's Flooded Tree Study

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The Mouse River valley, normally at it's lush green height in July, was traumatized in 2011.

Trees are most vulnerable during the growing season and a number of them did not survive.

But after a drive through the valley in the spring time, it's clear that others have thrived.

Jennifer Thorgramson tells us about a local professor's quest to find the 'root' of a solution.

The lines were clearly drawn.

In 2011, some would live and some would surely die.

It's as much a sad story, as it is an opportunity for growth.

(Dr. Alexey Shipunov, MSU Assistant Biology Professor) "Of course it's a sad thing, but for the scientist every sad thing may turn out to be a good natural example of things that need to be researched."

Minot State University professor Alexey Shipunov took interest in the 'live or die' principle and formed his hypothesis: the native trees would be the survivors.

(Ranelle Ivens, MSU Sophomore Biology Major) "We went out in the field to study the flood. We wanted to know how the trees were damaged, see which ones survived better, and figure out how to advise the population how to better prepare themselves horticulturally for a flood."

While the hypothesis was that the native species would continue to thrive, even the team was surprised by just how much.

(Ranelle Ivens, MSU Sophomore Biology Major) "At first I thought it was dead. I was about to mark it off as a five. But when I took a closer look, all these shoots coming out of the bottom were fresh and lush and green and it was really exciting."

(Dr. Alexey Shipunov, MSU Assistant Biology Professor) "Boxelder here is very tame. It didn't do anything harmful to the community."

(Ranelle Ivens, MSU Sophomore Biology Major) "It was really beneficial to me because now I can use that information to better grow plants, I can better understand them."

Maybe it's THIS summer that attentions can turn to 'rebuilding the landscape.'

(Dr. Alexey Shipunov, MSU Assistant Biology Professor) "Consider native plants. That's the first rule. We have a very rich flora. In our state we have almost 2,000 species of native plants."

Dr. Shipunov has one more theory about the survivors: because the growth season was interrupted, our trees will have an extra ring for 2011.

(Dr. Alexey Shipunov, MSU Assistant Biology Professor) "As if it was two years instead of one. As if there was an additional winter."

In Minot, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.

If you're looking to plant a native species, a complete list is compiled on Dr. Shipunov's website: floraofnd.wordpress.com. (Flora of N-D.wordpress.com)

Dr. Shipunov says that because the flood took place in July, the temperature made standing water a breeding ground for fungi.

Trees are still vulnerable to fungi infection if they're cut down while regrowth is new.

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