The Effects of Flooding on Trees

With the flooding upon us, one might wonder what are the effects of the flooding on our tree health. One might think lots of water is good for trees but you know the saying too much of a good thing can be bad. Flooding presents a few issues to trees. It can leave the tree vulnerable to secondary pest, suffocate the tree, and loosen up the root foundation.

The soil has space in between each soil particle. For example picture sand versus rocks, the rocks have more space between each other than sand particles do. And likewise, it is the same with soil. The spaces or pores contain air or oxygen pockets where the tree roots get their oxygen. When the soil becomes flooded, these pores fill up with water and the roots can’t get any oxygen. Oxygen deprivement can cause stress, stunt growth, injury and/or death of the tree. Several factors like the tree’s natural flood tolerance ability, soil drainage, and soil pore quality ( more porous vs less porous soils) can affect the tree’s survival ability. What you may want to consider when planting a new tree is the tree’s flood tolerance, soil, and location (up-slope as opposed to down-slope).

Flooding can also cause the soil to loosen up and wash away causing the tree’s root foundation to become structurally unstable. A weak root foundation can be very dangerous with high winds. We recommend having a tree care professional come and inspect the structural quality of your tree during this flood season. Having a 50-100 foot tree fall on your house can cause expensive structural damage to your home not to mention the injury this could inflict on your family or pets.
After the flooding has dried up, there are still dangers to your tree called Secondary Pest. “Flooding, drought, and premature defoliation impair tree defense mechanisms and trigger biochemical responses that release carbohydrates, sugars, and other nutrients which seem to invite insect and fungal pathogen attack,” According to an article in University of Florida’s Hillsborough County scholarly journal. Fungus and insects can attack your tree after the floods. Some culprits include water mold, ambrosia beetles and bark beetles. Contacting a tree professional can help determine if your tree is infected with any of the aforementioned.

If your tree exhibits any of the following symptoms, yellowing of the leaf, leaf thinning, and stunted leaf and tree growth. Please contact S & J Treecare to help diagnose and treat your tree.

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