Well, we made it through Harvey. Everyone here at Tom's Thumb is thinking about our friends and neighbors all over the Houston/Galveston area and hoping y'all are okay. Galveston escaped fairly lightly compared to the catastrophic flooding in Houston, but we still took damage. I can't speak to damage on structures, but here are some ideas for landscape problems we've been seeing:
Saltwater on Lawns and Landscaping
Flush lawn with clean water. For minor/moderate damage, organic Medina is a granular fertilizer that will help your lawn recover. Apply at the recommended spreader settings; you do not need to overfertilize. For severe inundation spread gypsum at a rate of up to 40lb per 1000 square feet. (Yes, this is a LOT of gypsum.) Water in with your sprinkler system or with a hose and oscillating sprinkler. You can apply gypsum at a lesser rate with multiple applications over several days. Do not fertilize with non-organics until the lawn starts to recover as fertilizers contain salts as well.
Uprighting & Replanting Shrubs
Many hibiscus, esperanza, plumeria, and other shrubs have blown over due to the combination of high winds and saturated soils. These need to be set upright and replanted as soon as you can. However, there has been significant root damage and you need to compensate for that when you replant. We recommend cutting off 1/3 to 1/2 of the existing above ground structure.
Pruning Plumeria for Storm Survivability
The problem that caused damage on so many plumeria was how heavily branched they were on such short trunks. Plumeria should be thinned out so that there are not too many branches and cut back so there are not branches reaching out so far from the trunk. This will help reduce wind damage on plumeria.
Broken Limbs on Shrubs & Small Trees
When you look at your shrubs and see where a branch broke off and left a jagged wound that is where you need to prune. Those rough looking, jagged edges are perfect entry zones for disease, pests, and water. Cut a smooth angled line that allows water to flow off the cut surface. You don't want any areas where water can pool or where disease can take root.
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