When a natural disaster strikes, the last item on the recovery list is probably your flower beds and lawn. For those who spend a lot of time laboring in their yards though, it may be more of a priority.
With time and patience, nature’s resilience will allow most plants to return naturally. But there are a few tips that can help encourage restoration.
• Once your yard is completely dry, remove any limbs, leaves, trash, or sediment buildup. Then mow and apply one-half pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square foot to encourage turf recovery.
• Newly planted trees, shrubs, and plants will probably not survive flooding. Most deciduous plants begin shedding their leaves immediately after a flood, while some evergreen varieties hold onto their leaves. Washing the silt off could be beneficial to survival and regrowth.
• A solution of one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid per gallon of water in a sprayer works well in most cases. First, wet the plants with plain water and then spray the foliage with the solution. Wait about a minute and then rinse. Try to work in small areas so the solution doesn’t stay on too long. Plants should never be pressure washed, even if the silt is extra thick.
• Flooded trees and shrubs have undergone a shock and may experience a forced dormancy. Some plants may look as though they didn’t survive, but you can tell if a dormant plant is still alive by checking the stems. Stems should still be pliable and firm, and will have a green cast on the inside if they are still alive.
• Avoid using a high nitrogen fertilizer on trees and shrubs, and perhaps even test the soil to determine the best fertilizer to use.
• If you have an irrigation system, you’ll want to inspect and flush the lines. Be sure the power is off when checking electrical connections. The backflow prevention will need to be assessed by a certified professional prior to reintroducing clean water.
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Harris County Precinct 4
1001 Preston, Suite 950
Houston, Texas 77002