There are some areas that are more susceptible to floods. Usually these tend to happen in the spring but heavy rainfall can happen at any time. If you are in low-lying areas or have bad drainage in your yard, you can experience flooding. If this has happened to you, you might wonder how it is affecting your tree and how can you help them? Our team at Five Star Tree Services want to go over how you can help waterlogged trees.
Tree Flood Damage Symptoms
There are many factors that go into potential tree flood damage. Some of these things include when the flood occurs, how the flooding occurs, tree species, and the initial health of the tree before the flood. When you experience a flood, this changes the soil conditions, inhibits oxygen getting to the tree roots, and puts stress on the tree. This barrage of things increases your tree’s susceptibility to damage from disease and insects.
Visible symptoms of a tree experiencing a flood include:
-Small shoots protruding from the main stem
-Smaller leaf growth
-Seed crop alterations
-Early fall colouration and early leaf dropping
Now, you might be wondering if your tree can recover after being flooded.
When Do Floods Hurt Trees?
The chance of flood damage is greater during late spring and summer growing times, as opposed to when the tree is dormant. So, if a flood happens in late winter or early spring and dissipates in a few days, this shouldn’t hurt our tree. Essentially, damage occurs when the tree is actively growing. When there is warm weather, it’s the growing season, and a flood occurs, there will be major, long-term damage that happens quickly. During the warm growing season, roots are actively respiring, requiring more oxygen. If there is a flood, it can start to kill the roots. Unless you have a tree species that thrive in wetland conditions, all others will suffer in a flood.
How Flooding Affects Trees
You can see the effects of flood tree damage in the following ways.
For moderately tolerant trees, if your tree is exposed to a flood for a long period of time during the growing season, the height and diameter can decrease. For trees which aren’t tolerant, it will kill them. When a flood happens, the oxygen supply to the soil is limited. Meaning that the tree roots aren’t getting enough oxygen during a flood. This is a major contributor to root death. In acidic soils, a flood increases the pH and in alkaline soils, it decreases the pH. The soil around a tree’s base can be washed away, leaving the roots exposed and causing uprooting. It can also leave behind sediments that lead to basal rot, girdling roots, and unexpected rooting. Boring insect attacks are increased due to the stress the tree is under. Root rot is also likely to happen with extended flooding conditions.
How To Help Trees Recover
If your tree is healthy before a flood, they have an increased chance of surviving.
Tree Recovery Care
After the flood has subsided and the ground is dry and stable enough to support you and some equipment, you can use these tips:
-start by removing excess sediment from around the tree. Make sure to be careful and don’t step on any exposed roots.
-add soil to low points that have eroded away. Make sure to match the composition and texture of the soil. You should also make sure to have at least 5% organic matter when applying the new soil.
-add your mulch back if it washed away
-watch for symptoms of stress
-test the soil and add any necessary fertilizer
-take preventative measures and treat for root rot
-grade your yard around your trees for better drainage where possible. Add structures or barriers if it is an option
-monitor your trees for further stress as feeder roots might have been killed
How Five Star Tree Services Can Help
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, you might want to look into trees that like lots of water. If you do experience a flood and are worried about your trees, our arborists here at Five Star Tree Services can help. We can provide you with proper tree care services in Toronto to help ensure the survival of your trees. Give us a call today at (416) 990-3355!