Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trees Tolerant of Flooding

It's raining, again, as I write this! It has been a reccurring theme this year. As a Kansas native, I was reminded of the wet springs I endured living in the Chicagoland area with our unseasonably wet spring leading into summer. Between last year's rapid temperature drop in November that shut down trees in production to store up necessary sugars and the continuously wet soils this spring, it's no wonder some landscape trees are stressed.  

Rock Springs 4-H Center 
Rock Springs 4-H Center, Junction City, Kansas

During a recent hot August weekend, I enjoyed walking Rock Springs' numerous nature trails shaded by large majestic trees towering above me as when I attended 4-H camp in my youth. Even at this utopia I saw newly planted trees that suffered stress from this past year. With the onset of hot days without rain, timely watering this summer and leading into fall are vital for trees that have suffered root damage from flooding.

This year your customers are more likely to become interested in trees that are flood tolerant. The most inclusive list I found about flood tolerant trees is an article on Michigan State University Extension's website. The US Forest Service and Journal of Forestry can also be entrusted as valuable resources on this topic.

Trees ranked with high tolerance to prolonged flooding for more than one year include a select few, e.g. Taxodium distichum. Ash is in this category too, but with the recent spread of the emerald ash borer we will need to find alternative trees to plant such as Red Maple varieties.
Shawnee Brave Taxodium
Very Tolerant - Taxodium distichum 'Shawnee Brave'
Trees that are tolerant to flooding for one growing season include Acer negundo, Acer rubrum, Celtis occidentalis, Liquidambar styraciflua, Platanus occidentalis, Quercus imbricaria, and Quercus palustris.

Exclamation Platanus 

Somewhat Tolerant -
Platanus x acerifolia Exclamation™

Somewhat tolerant species can withstand flooding or saturated soils for thirty consecutive days during the growing season. They include Betula nigra, Gleditsia triacanthos, Nyssa sylvatica, Quercus bicolor, Quercus macrocarpa and Ulmus americana.

There are many symptoms you may notice on flood sensitive trees such as leaf drop or curl, iron chlorosis, branch dieback or even death. Most trees can maintain their health if waters recede within seven days. Don't fret if the flood water is flowing as it has the benefit over stagnant water by providing oxygen to the roots. Any sediment deposits left behind by flood water should be removed quickly as three inches can decrease oxygen to the roots and kill especially a small or recently planted tree.

Loma Vista has added many new crops of container trees to our current inventory as a result of this productive growing season and they are ready for your fall shipments. Call us today for great selection on some beautiful trees!

Would you like to tour Loma Vista's container farm? Contact your sales representative or

Sheila Balaun, Inventory Control/Customer Service, Loma Vista Nursery

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