Safety First! – How To Rescue Your Garden After a Flood (Part One)

In the aftermath of a flood, the health of the garden probably doesn’t rank highly in most people’s priority list, however a few timely actions will vastly improve your garden’s prospects for recovery, and keep you healthy at the same time!

1.      Take Photographs

One of the best things you can do after a heavy rain is to assess your landscape. There is no better time to identify problem areas and form a plan to prevent future issues.

Walk the garden making notes and taking pictures of places where water stands for long periods of time. Use this information to help you make future decisions such as raising beds, improving soil texture, and making future plant selections.

2.      Clean Up Damaged Trees

With high winds and heavy rains come downed trees, one of the most dangerous and damaging outcomes of a powerful storm. If you find you’ll need to remove a tree, call us to do any major removal; taking down trees is a scary job that can cause terrible injury if not done right. We can also assess the damage and determine whether a tree is to be saved or removed. Smaller ornamental trees and foundation plantings may just need some cleanup to broken branches.

3.      Prune & Remove the Damage

After dealing with major damage, (such as fallen trees) move on to removing snapped branches, bent or damaged growth and broken leaves. Also, clear away any buildup of mud and debris that is clinging to the trunk or basis of plants/trees. This will help reduce the risk of secondary infection from high mud levels and dead plant materials. If plant residue is left on or leaning against other plants, it will usually begin to rot and in doing so, it will cause other plants to rot as well.

4.      But Remember To Go Slowly

When trying to prune and clear away a wind damaged garden, do the least pruning necessary at first. Over time, your garden will let you know what needs to be removed and what can stay. This can happen within a week after the storm passes. New shoots will form, new buds will develop, and these are essential keys to tell you how a plant is responding to storm damage.

5.      Know What Should Be Trashed

Any fruit or vegetables that were below the water line should go in the garbage, not the compost. (Floodwater can include sewer water.)

Watch out for diseases. Being submerged can deprive plants of oxygen and make their roots rot or encourage fungal diseases. After a week or two, remove any plants or foliage that seems diseased. Put the plants in the landscape waste, not the compost.

In fact, if your compost pile was submerged, discard it (check with your municipality to see if it should be disposed of as garbage or yard waste) and start a new one after the leaves fall. The floodwater might have deposited bad bacteria and the submersion could have shut down the microbial action that cooks compost.

6.      Prevent Mosquitoes

To prevent mosquitoes breeding in your yard it important to remove all sources of standing water from your garden. Empty out water features, pot plant bases, palm fronds, waterlogged rubbish and other receptacles and try to facilitate drainage of standing water from your yard.

 

Check back with Sterling Design & Landscape Resources for more tips in the coming weeks as we all recover from the recent floods. Call us at (281) 933-5197 to schedule a consultation, or if you need any assistance with the actions listed above.

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