This has been a very rainy summer in Northeast Ohio, with some storms causing flooding in many areas. All this rain can rightly cause concern when it comes to protecting our plants and trees. Sometimes, the reality is that severe flooding can cause unavoidable damage to our landscapes. However, there is information available to help you understand the threat of standing water, and the steps you can take to protect your landscape.

Standing water is a major threat to trees and plants. When water is stagnant above the soil, roots can suffocate and eventually die. While adult trees are more likely to tolerate flooding, young seedlings are more susceptible to damage, simply because they are more easily uprooted or buried in mud. Many plants, particularly vegetable gardens, can also be harmed by standing water.

Pay attention to exposed tree roots. If your tree’s roots are left exposed after a flood, take action immediately to cover them with soil. Otherwise, exposed roots can become dried out and damaged.

tree-plantingSoil type for planting makes a difference. For example, sandy soil drains faster than clay soil. We have a heavy clay soil here in NE Ohio, so you may want to consider drainage to help drain your gardens.

Learn to recognize signs of water stress on plants. Even after standing water dissipates, your plants may be still be suffering. Look for:

    • Yellow or brown leaves
    • Leaf curling and wilting
    • Branch dieback
    • New leaf growth smaller than normal


Survey your yard. What areas of your landscape drain slowly, or are most likely to remain flooded after a heavy rainfall? Avoid planting in those areas of your yard going forward or consider a tree like willows, sycamore & river birch that like the soil wet. Consider replanting gardens in raised beds, diverting excess water away from nearby trees and shrubs.

If your landscape has suffered flood damage, or you would like to discuss ways to protect your landscape from potential flooding, call the team at Independent Tree for expert advice and assistance.