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How to Recover a Flooded Gardenscape 

If you've recently experienced flooding in your area, here's some quick tips to help your plants bounce back, happy and healthy.

Things to Remember:

  • Flooding can be just as stressful for you as it is for your plants. Most plants can recover, but this might take a few weeks to fully recover.
  • Even areas with no standing water can be waterlogged. Check that your plants need the water first.
  • Flooding can affect the texture, oxygen levels, and nutrient values of the soil.

flooded yard

Things to Do:

  • Let the soil drain: Try to let your soil drain and dry as naturally as possible. 
  • Avoid compaction: Don't walk on flooded or recently-flooded soil. This can increase soil compaction.
  • Clean your plants: Depending on the severity of the flood your plants might have sediment on them. Simply use a damp cloth or rag to remove this so the leaves can breathe a bit better. 
  • Test your soil: Flooding can remove nutrients from soil and can increase the pH of your soil. Consider testing your soil to know if you need any adjustments.
  • Amend your soil: Use natural products (compost, manure, and mulch) to help your soil recover.
  • Wait to prune: Only remove dead, broken, or hazardous branches. The plants are already stressed and removing healthy live tissue will only increase the stress on the plant.
  • Check for insects: Monitor for increased insect activity and treat with the most gentle methods as possible (removal by hand) while the plants are recovering.
  • Check for fungus: Monitor for increased fungal activity and treat with the most gentle methods possible (waiting) while the plants are recovering. Keep in mind good housekeeping and remove fallen leaves and branches so spores don't remain in the soil.
  • Monitor for root rot: Signs of root rot include mushy stems, distorted or yellowing leaves, falling leaves, rotten smelling soil, and discolored roots. Smaller plants will need replanting while larger ones may need professional help in extreme cases (this is rare).
  • Ask for help: We're happy to look at photos of specific plants or places and offer recommendations.

helping plants recover

Looking Forward

  • Right plant, right place: If there's a specific place in your gardenscape that is more prone to flooding, choose plants that tolerate poor drainage or improve the drainage of the location by adding compost or using a raised bed. Landscape features such as rain gardens, ponds, permeable hardscaping, French drains, or green roofs can also help to redirect or collect rainwater to reduce its impact in some situations.

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