Loading...
Stop printing EBT cards and illegal immigration ceases to exist. Global warming would take a hit too....

What do hurricanes mean for your plants? Too much water

Eric Derstine
1 of 2

Eric Derstine

Loading…

Eric Derstine

Saturday, September 22, 2018

As hurricane Florence made its landfall last week, it left the Greenville area relatively spared, thankfully. But what did this hurricane mean for our garden or landscape plants? Landscape and garden plants can suffer from “wet feet” due to all the water we received, even if you are not in a flood-prone area. “Wet feet” is simply a term to describe plant roots that are suffering in waterlogged soils.

Why do plants show signs of stress or even die in waterlogged soils? First of all, plants need carbon dioxide from the air in order to make their food through photosynthesis. However, plant cells, including roots, need oxygen in order to respire to use food obtained from photosynthesis for energy. In short, plant root cells need oxygen to live. Typically, roots can easily get needed oxygen in the air-filled pore spaces between soil particles. But when soils are waterlogged, those soil pore spaces are filled by water, causing plants to drown and roots to die.

Some trees such as sycamore, cypress and swamp white oak can tolerate and even thrive in waterlogged soils. Other common plants, including boxwood, hydrangea and juniper, will suffer and die off if they are given an excess of water. Plants suffering from “wet feet” may die outright or experience twig dieback later depending on the specific plant, water and soil situation. Twig dieback usually occurs later in the season because as soils dry out, the damaged root system can’t keep up with the water needs of the plant.

There is nothing that can actively be done when plants are in standing water, which is why it is important to be proactive and ensure the right plant is in the right site. However, if plants were in standing water for a period of time that has now receded, provide the plants with proper growing conditions such as such as proper watering, fertilizing, pruning and sunlight.

Within the next few days, if plants appear to have died from wet feet (leaves fall off, wilting), do not be too quick to remove them. Wilted leaves may recover in a few weeks if the plants can tolerate the saturated soils or if the soils drain quickly. Plants that drop their leaves can mean a variety of things when it comes to the plant’s health. The obvious thought is that the plant may have died and not recovered. Another possibility is that the abscission (dropping) of the leaves will cause the plant to go into dormancy, but if there is enough stored energy in the plant, it will releaf in the spring. A third possibility is that a plant may drop its leaves but attempt to push out a new flush of growth this year. This is more typical when a plant is damaged by a late frost and has time in the spring and summer to leaf out a second time, but it is a possibility for plants flooded by this hurricane.

If plants show obvious stem rot at the soil line or doesn’t leaf out in the spring, the plant is dead and will not come back, so it’s time for a replacement. We cannot always predict let alone plan for flooding, but we can always learn from experience. Keep note of which plants tolerated these excessively saturated soils and which died off. This helps to ensure success of replanting by replacing plants that can tolerate the growing conditions of the site.

If you have any questions regarding the health of your plants after the hurricane or need any gardening information, the Pitt County Master Gardeners would be happy to help. They can be reached from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Pitt County Arboretum, on the phone at 902-1705 or email pittcomgv@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!

Eric Derstine is the horticulture agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Pitt County. Contact him at eric_derstine@ncsu.edu.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

October 21, 2018

BEAR GRASS — Earl Bailey has hung his printer’s apron up for the last time.

After almost 60 years of service with the Enterprise & Weekly Herald in Williamston, the 74-year-old former Linotype has retired.

Bailey has given almost three-quarters of his life to the art of…

1012-WE-FR-Earl3.jpg

October 21, 2018

I am looking for iconic North Carolina eateries for a new book.

The dictionary defines iconic as “widely recognized and well-established” or “widely known and acknowledged especially for distinctive excellence.”

The iconic restaurants should be (1) widely known in North…

DGMartin.jpg

October 20, 2018

What's the difference, botanically, between a "reed" and a "cane"? I'm not sure I know: both of these are very old words that tend to refer to hollow-stemmed, grass-like plants. Here is a plant that seems to fit, and is, as well, a true member of the grass family.

It is native to southern Europe,…

Arundo_donax6.jpg

October 19, 2018

Certified Angus beef, appetizers, and hand-crafted sandwiches and salads are just a few reasons why people love Angus Grill in Winterville. Now you can be even more excited because they have opened a new location in Greenville at 201 S. Jarvis St. Conveniently located within walking distance to the…

20181010_124801.jpg

October 19, 2018

Director David Gordon Green got his start with art-house dramas but is perhaps best known for the baked humor of "Pineapple Express." So it's apt that, despite plenty of gore, his version of "Halloween," the latest sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 slasher film, sometimes feels like a horror movie…

FILM-HALLOWEEN-REVIEW-ADV18

October 19, 2018

Dancer Rebecca Colenda has leaped and twirled on stages across the globe, but this weekend it is her turn to come back to where it all began.

The Pitt County native will dance a principal role in “The Scarlet Cord” on Sunday at Winterville's Reimage Church. Colenda, 25, who had her…

101918goballet-4.jpg

October 17, 2018

Certified Angus beef, appetizers, and hand-crafted sandwiches and salads are just a few reasons why people love Angus Grill in Winterville. Now you can be even more excited because they have opened a new location in Greenville at 201 S. Jarvis St. Conveniently located within walking distance to the…

20181010_125153.jpg

October 17, 2018

Q My doctors wants me to try the Mediterranean diet. He said I could have some red meat. How much is some? KP, Winterville.

A We recently visited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s library and museum. I was intrigued by his physician’s diet prescription for the president in 1944. It…

KathyKolasa

October 17, 2018

Q My doctors wants me to try the Mediterranean diet. He said I could have some red meat. How much is some? KP, Winterville.

A We recently visited President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s library and museum. I was intrigued by his physician’s diet prescription for the president in 1944. It…

Kolasa, Kathy

October 14, 2018

I was a proud Boy Scout and Scout leader but had lost touch with the program.

However, my youngest grandson’s excitement over having just been signed up for Cub Scouts happened to open a window on some truly monumental changes in the Scouting world. Like me, you may have missed them.

The…

Bob Garner
241 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 25
        Next Page»   Last Page»