One of the last things to worry about after a hurricane is your lawn. But the mess caused by ocean flooding needs attention before anything grows again. Saltwater flooding saturates the soil, pulls water out of the roots and damages many plants.
Most plants look as if they’ve been struck by drought: brown, shriveled leaves, dry roots, stunted growth and death. Bermuda grass, salt cedar and Madagascar periwinkle are great to plant in coastal regions, as they can tolerate salty water.
RESTORE A HEALTHY LAWN AFTER A FLOOD:
- After water recedes, remove salt-saturated mulch from garden beds to allow soil to dry out.
- Rake silt and debris from lawn, shrubs, ground covers, annuals and perennials.
- Hose down plants to wash off salt and remaining debris.
- Flush soil with fresh water. Fresh water carries salt deep into the soil, below the roots.
- Stop irrigating if water flows off the yard. This means the ground is saturated. Water again in a few days.
- Apply gypsum to the soil at a rate of 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- Test the soil for salt before replanting. Do the test yourself or contact your Cooperative Extension Service.
- Work in compost to absorb salt in any replanted areas.
- Spread fresh mulch.
Do not apply fertilizer until the spring, as it is also a form of salt.