Mitigating Tree Flooding Damage
Even though trees need water to survive, a serious flood can spell doom for your trees. A quick intervention, however, can help you save your flood-damaged trees instead of removing them. Below are some of the tips you can use to save your trees.
Drain the Water
If there is standing water covering the base of the trees, then you should drain the water away as soon as it is safe to do so (this should be after the storm). This is because standing water contributes to nutrient leaching and also depletes oxygen from the soil. Both of these will contribute to long-term damage to the trees, and can even lead to their death.
Brace the Tree
An extreme flood can leave trees leaning in its wake. This is likely to be the case if the flood was moving at a high velocity, was deep, or carried considerable debris. The flood can also expose tree roots, leaving the tree weak and susceptible to wind damage. Staking and bracing the tree might help, but only if the lean is extreme and the staking or bracing is done by a professional arborist.
Mulch the Tree
Floodwaters can also trigger soil erosion and wash away considerable topsoil from the base of the tree. That would leave the tree roots exposed, which, in addition to the above issue, would deny the roots nutrients and water. The best way to deal with this problem is to add some soil to cover up the exposed roots and add some mulch, too.
Remove Excess Debris
Flooding can either expose tree roots or pile more debris at the base of the tree. Additional debris at the base of the tree can choke the roots and compact the soil, further interfering with the health of the tree. Thus, you should remove additional debris or soil from the base of the tree once the floodwater subsides.
Prevent Additional Issues
Flooding damage to trees is not always instantaneous. The water, root exposure, leaning, and nutrient deprivation can all weaken the tree, even if they don't kill it. Such a tree will be vulnerable to further damage, such as pest or disease attacks. Therefore, you need to give your trees some tender loving care in the months or years following the flood.
The extent of the damage will determine whether the trees can be saved or must be removed. An arborist can assess the trees and help you determine the way forward. To learn more about tree care, contact an arborist in your area.