We all know trees need water to survive, but when floods or overwatering occur, water can become surprisingly dangerous to a tree’s health. If this season’s heavy rainfall has left your soil soggy, your trees and shrubs should be checked for these serious health concerns.
pH Imbalance Excess water on the ground can dilute the soil’s natural mineral content, which can make the soil either too alkaline or too acidic. While some trees are able to survive changes in pH levels, others are more sensitive and could start to experience stunted growth or yellow spots on their leaves, among other symptoms.
Root Damage Flood waters can harm your tree’s root system in many ways. Too much water among the roots can basically drown the tree by impairing its ability to absorb oxygen, while foreign sediment that floods wash into the area can compact the soil and make it difficult for roots to grow. The extra wet soil also creates an ideal growing environment for fungus and disease that could contribute to root rot. And of course, if the soil is really saturated, it may no longer be able to provide the stability needed to keep your tree’s roots anchored to the ground.
Once the flood waters have abated, you might think your tree is safe, but the ground beneath your tree can hold onto excess water for a long time after the surface starts to look dry. Applying a thin layer of mulch around your tree can help to absorb some of the excess water and pull it to the surface where it can dry, and an application of potassium phosphite can help to fight off disease and rot.
But when the ground is really wet, this may not be enough! To save and protect your tree, it’s important to contact an experienced arborist that can:
evaluate and correct your tree’s drainage
aerate the soil to help it dry
determine pH levels and soil conditions, then make corrections based on findings