How to Restore Your Plants After Heavy Rain
In the aftermath of very heavy rain your plants can look a little worse for wear - but it's not all bad news! Many plants will bounce back with minimal effort. Here's what you can do to support them as they recover.
The good news is that healthy plants should bounce back in the next week or so. Many may have bent under the force of the rain and look somewhat flattened, but so long as they haven’t snapped they will prop themselves back up soon enough. If your smaller trees are a little unstable, you can stake them for a while until their root system re-establishes itself back into the ground.
If you've got large trees that are leaning, contact an arborist to assess the situation.
Restore your soil
Sometimes wet weather can lead to movement of soil around your garden - even into other neighbouring yards. If too much soil has banked up around your plants, remove it as needed. You may also need to top up your soil if too much displacement has occurred - you'll know you need to do this if any roots have become exposed. Only top up soil to its original level - any higher and you could cause your plants to rot.
Chances are your soil is a little on the soggy side right now, so hold off on watering for a while (even when the soil surface appears dry, it could still be quite wet underneath). Once it's dried out a bit, you should water on a seaweed solution. Seaweed solutions work as health tonics for your plants, helping to fortify them and mitigate some of the effects of shock and stress that your plants might be feeling. Repeat weekly for six weeks and you should see some great improvements in your plants. If you have a clay soil, you might also want to try using a liquid clay breaker to help improve your soil long-term and minimise waterlogging in future.
You should also take this opportunity to feed your plants with a complete fertiliser if this happens during the spring to autumn active growth period. Heavy and prolonged periods of rain can result in "leaching", where essential nutrients and trace elements are effectively washed out of the soil. A complete but gentle organic fertiliser will help restore these nutrients so your plants can thrive - Supergrow Organic Fertiliser Pellets are easy to spread by hand and provide everything your plants need to grow happily.
Trim things back a little
Plants that haven’t been positioned for the correct amount of sunlight, don’t have access to the nutrition they need or have poor drainage might be struggling after all this wind and rain. This is because they wouldn't have developed the strong root systems and formed the sturdy growth required to handle extreme weather. Give rain-damaged plants the best opportunity to recover by removing any snapped branches cleanly with secateurs to avoid them dying off and rotting on the plant. This will encourage new growth and help prevent disease.
Pests, diseases and fungal issues
In the coming weeks, you're likely to see a cornucopia of garden nasties, as wet weather tends to bring them out of hiding.
Aphids are likely to be the most active pest in your garden post-rain. They present as little black, green or brown dots on your plant, and because they suck the sap out of your plant, sometimes new growth may appear distorted or stunted. If you see ladybugs or ants on your plant, chances are they're there because you have an aphid infestation! The best way to treat this is with Amgrow Pyrethrum.
If you notice yellowing or blackening foliage or that plants are drooping, root rot may have set in as a result of the soil being too wet for an extended period. Spray a systemic fungicide such as Yates Anti Rot onto leaves as directed.
Another fungal problem that rears its ugly head in the wet is powdery mildew. Appearing as a mottled white cast on foliage, this mouldy misfit is best treated with an application of eco-fungicide.
Whack those weeds
After rain, you're likely to see increased amounts of weed activity in your garden. This is because weed seeds can be spread through rain and flood waters which make their way through your garden - plus moist soil is the perfect germinating environment. Not only are weeds unsightly in your garden, as they develop they compete with the roots of your plants for nutrients and water. Pluck weeds out by hand as you see them, and once the soil has dried a little, add a layer of mulch to help prevent them from emerging. We love a mulch like organic sugar cane, which decomposes to add even more nutrients to the soil.
Sort out your pots
Potted plants may need extra attention depending on drainage. If the potting mix doesn’t seem to be drying out after the rain has stopped, if there’s a residue on top or it starts smelling ‘off’ then drainage is a problem. All this rain may have killed off the beneficial microorganisms in the soil, which can have deadly impacts on your plants as pests and disease seize the opportunity for a takeover.
In many cases the best option will be to re-pot the plant to avoid root rot. If the drainage holes on the existing pot are suitable then you can reuse it and just replace the potting medium, otherwise use a new pot with additional holes. Most modern potting mixes are specifically formulated to be well-draining, but it's really important to use the right potting medium for the plant – if you're not sure, our friendly staff will be able to advise in-store.
If the potting mix isn’t as seriously water-logged, you may be able to improve things in the same way as you did in the garden by adding a seaweed solution to your next watering. Make sure you wait for the excess water to drain before watering again. To ensure enough water has drained, poke your finger into the potting mix and remove. If no granules stick to your finger it’s ready for a drink but if granules are sticking then it’s still too moist. A supplement of Seaweed solution will boost essential natural compounds and trace elements and help the plant repair its roots and structure.