After the Storm: Flooded Landscapes

Was your landscape swamped by the recent hurricane? Many plants in the landscape are not tolerant of standing water, especially salty or brackish water. Under these conditions the roots cannot get oxygen and essentially the root system suffocates. Some plants can tolerate up to a week or so flooded, while others will be damaged after only a short time. Recovery from flooding is just as varied- some plants will recover in one growing season while others may decline and die. Healthy established plants generally fare better than older or very young plants.

debris from hurricane surge in a yard
Debris left behind by surge from Hurricane Idalia.

Here are some of the symptoms that you might see above-ground if your plants have root damage from standing water:

-leaf yellowing or browning, leaf drop

-droopy foliage, stem and leaf wilting

-stem and limb die-back

-plant death

There are some things you can do after a flood to lessen the damage to some plants. If you have flooded container plants, put them up on blocks, bricks, gravel, etc. to encourage the drainage of excess water. If the flood left debris, sediment, etc. on your plants, carefully remove this sediment so as not to harm the roots. You may also have exposed roots where soil was washed away. These roots should be covered with soil to protect them. Return the soil to its original depth/condition because putting too much soil on the roots will also reduce the oxygen available to them.

The ultimate goal is to return to pre-flood conditions as soon as possible.

If you have experienced salt or brackish water flooding, you will want to flush the plants root zone (area under the branches and leaves of the plant) and rinse the plant with fresh water once the salt water recedes. Carefully wash away sediment and debris as well. Post-flood rains may provide this service for you, but not always. Watch and observe new growth before any pruning or cutting back.

For a resilient and storm-ready landscape plant native and Florida-Friendly plants that tolerate flooding and or salty air/water if your site is prone to those hazards.

Salt Tolerant Plants

Coastal Landscapes


Posted: August 31, 2023

Category: Coasts & Marine, Disaster Preparation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, Home Landscapes, Lawn, Natural Resources, SFYL Hot Topic, Water, Work & Life
Tags: Flood, Hurricane, Landscape, Salt Water, Storm, Tropical Storm

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