Flooding is a common springtime occurrence in Canada but it can also happen after a particularly heavy summer rain storm. After a serious flood like the one that devastated Calgary and surrounding area this June, you might wonder if the landscaping that you’ve invested so much time and money in will ever look the same.
While some common landscaping plants won’t survive immersion or saturated roots, many can survive after being submerged for up to a week. There are a few things that you can do to give your plants and shrubs a fighting chance for survival after a flood.
Let the ground dry out
Wait for the ground to dry out before you start your yard cleanup. Working when the ground is too wet can lead to soil compaction which makes it harder for lawns and plants to recover.
Clean your plants
Most deciduous plants will lose their leaves after a flood. You can help them to recover by spraying them with fresh water followed by a cleaning solution of one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid mixed with four liters of water. Leave the cleaning solution on for a minute and then rinse off with fresh water. Definitely don’t pressure wash silt covered plants.
Resist the urge to fertilize
While you might be tempted to add fertilizer to the soil, it might do more damage than good to plants that have gone dormant. Waterlogged soils also have a tendency to become acidic. Before adding anything to your soil, you should have it tested first by the experts at 5 Star Landscaping to determine the nitrogen and acidity levels.
Most lawns can survive up to four days under water. Let the lawn dry before you begin work on it to prevent compaction. If there is less than 20 mm of silt on the surface, simply use a rake to spread it evenly and break up the crust. Keep the silt layer loose and well aerated by regular raking. If more than 20 mm of silt has been deposited on the lawn, it must be removed and whatever is left behind raked regularly for aeration.
If the lawn does not show signs of recovery after a few weeks, it will have to be tilled under and a new lawn established.
The Calgary flood of 2013 caused an incredible amount of damage to landscaping and gardens. It’s comforting to know that if it happens again, with a little elbow grease and patience, you can save a lot of the hard work and money you’ve invested in beautifying your yard.