If your garden’s been flooded or waterlogged, action needs to be taken to safeguard your plants - and your health.
After the wettest December on record, and climate changes models predicting wetter winters, even those gardeners whose land isn’t under water may have to rethink aspects of planting and design.
Here’s nine tips to save what you can if your garden’s been flooded:
1. As the water falls, draw a sketch of low-lying areas to help with replanning.
2. If the garden’s been flooded by sea water, there’s very little you can do to get rid of the salt, except lift plants, wash off the soil and replant in containers. The saline buildup in the soil will be washed away in time.
3. Flood water is usually contaminated with sewage, but it’s not good practice to disinfect borders/lawns, as it can kill plants. The sun’s UV radiation will kill this type of bacteria. It should return to background levels in approximately nine days in the summer and 25 days in wet, cold winter conditions. Don’t eat any fruit or veg that has been in contact with flood water.
4. If your garden floods regularly, consider building raised brick beds.
5. Paths and drives can be cleaned and disinfected to kill bacteria and reduce slipping hazards - keep off the area for up to three hours.
6. Don’t dig, rake or hose down the garden. This will spread the contamination further, where lack of sunlight and damp conditions will encourage the bacteria to multiply.
7. Plants dying from waterlogging have the following symptoms: yellowing leaves that drop off; wilting; roots are black, soft and smell of rotten eggs; growth is stunted or shoots die back.
8. Stay off wet ground to reduce soil compaction: telltale signs are when water fails to drain away and puddles appear on the soil’s surface.
9. If plants have been under water for less than a week, there’s a reasonable chance they can be saved, but take cuttings to be on the safe side. Prune ornamentals right back, so they have less green growth to support.
* For more gardening news, tips and offers, visit Mandy’s website, www.mandycanudigit.co.uk