As Coloradans face the aftermath of torrential rains that dropped as much as 11 inches and flooded parts of the state, many gardens and landscapes were left saturated and storm-damaged.
A professor of horticulture at Colorado State University, Professor Jim Klett noted that between Monday and about noon on Friday the 13th, about 4 inches of rain fell at the Plant Environmental research Center on the CSU campus in Fort Collins.
The recent heavy rains and hailstones damaged plant material in flower beds, borders, and container gardens across hard-hit areas in Colorado. But gardeners can take steps to help landscapes recover.
Tips to help gardens recover after heavy rains
• “Problems that arise could include floppy plants,” Professor Klett said. “If a stem is broken, then trim it off.”
Professor Klett said that flooded gardens also suffer below the surface of the earth.
“If you get waterlogged roots, plants will look wilted,” he said.
Plant roots need oxygen, as well as water, and Professor Klett offered a simple solution to help ease saturated landscapes
• “If roots are waterlogged for extended for a long period of time, then a plant may die. You may want to poke holes in ground after water settles to let oxygen into the ground.”
Professor Klett noted other problems Front Range gardeners might face after the recent deluge.
“Other pests could include mildew on leaves and fungal diseases including spots on the leaves,” he said.
Professor Klett offered the following tips:
• Turn off automatic sprinklers.
• Empty saucers beneath containers.
• Possibly trim back foliage for better air circulation around plants.
Helping hail-damaged plants
For hail-damaged plants, Professor Klett suggests these tips:
• “Cut back plants--especially herbaceous plants--to the ground,” he advised. “Some may come back, but it’s getting late in the season now.
• “Woody plants should be cut back if damage encircles most of the stem or wounds into the cambial layer,” he said.
The professor noted that Colorado’s recent storm was not the worst rain he’s witnessed in the state.
“I have seen more rain when several years ago in July, Fort Collins had major flooding,” he said.
Beware out there as the storms subside, Colorado's cloudy skies clear, and the sun shines again on the Centennial state. Remember that you're part of the solution because your permeable garden surfaces and the plant material you cultivate help absorb dangerous rain run-off during such severe weather. Metro Denver feels power-washed, but watch your footing on rain-slick landscapes as you head outdoors again to investigate your soggy garden.
••• "Cultivate your corner of the world.
You grow your garden; your garden grows you." •••
• Colleen Smith's gift book "Laid-Back Skier" makes a charming gift! This whimsical, inspirational book includes lots of ski bunnies and encouragement for life's ups and downs. Watch "Laid-Back Skier's" brief YouTube video here.
• Colleen Smith’s first novel, “Glass Halo”—a finalist for the 2010 Santa Fe Literary Prize — is available in hardcover or e—book.
To learn more:
• Follow FridayPublisher on Twitter.
• Follow FridayJonesWags on Pinterest.