Caring for Water-Damaged Landscapes
Too much water can have a detrimental effect on area trees and landscapes. Oxygen is present in the soil and is needed by plant roots to survive. When the oxygen is displaced by water it can damage plant roots by the lack of oxygen. Damage can occur from saturated soils also.
Whenever soil and sediments are deposited around tree roots it should be raked away if possible. As little as 3 inches of soil can cause damage. These soil deposits can also alter the pH of the soil, causing poor growth and difficulty in taking up nutrients by the plant. If plants don’t seem to be recovering after flooding, a soil test should be done to check the pH of the soil.
Flooding can also leach away nutrients and while the fall isn’t the time to be fertilizing ornamentals, an application of fertilizer in the spring would be beneficial to the landscape. Plants will come in to the next growing season in a stressed condition so extra care should be taken to prevent stress next spring by watering during dry conditions and keeping insects and diseases under control. Extra care should be taken when mowing to keep trunk damage at a minimum from lawnmowers and trimmers.
While the landscape should not be your top priority when flooding or prolonged periods of saturated soil occur, knowing what to do could possibly save some of your valuable ornamentals.