Rescue Your Drowning Trees

Identifying Flood Injury

Trees with yellow leaves indicate flood injury.Over these last few months, the Kansas City area has experienced heavy rain and serious flooding. Although some people may believe that all of this extra moisture is helping our landscape, it could be surprising to know that it is literally drowning the plants and trees. Too much water can be just as damaging to your landscape as drought.

Flood injury is often expressed through changes in a tree’s foliage. Chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves), defoliation, reduced leaf size, shoot growth, crown dieback, and early leaf drop are all signs that your tree is experiencing flood damage. The Symptoms usually begin at the top of the tree or on the ends of the branches and can eventually spread throughout the entire crown.

Flooding reduces the supply of oxygen to the soil and roots, resulting in growth inhibition and injury. The flood stressed trees are then more susceptible to disease and insect damage. Fungal spores are capable of swimming through the soil’s water and invading the tree. This causes the roots to turn brown, becoming wet and decayed.

It may take several years for a mature tree to recover from a single year of flooding. The best way to cure flood stressed trees is to enhance their health by proper tree care maintenance. Be sure to have the dead or severely cankered branches removed immediately. Aerating the soil, properly mulching around the base of the tree, and watering during extended dry periods are all ways to help in the recovery of your stressed tree.