The “calm” after the storm. Right. As if you’ll ever be calm again.
It’s disturbing to find that paradise is illusory; that it’s prone to periodic tantrums. We’ve recently witnessed how a climatological whirligig can flood (literally) all of our senses and leave us questioning everything.
On top of all of that, the great outdoors is now manifesting a myriad of visual signs of post-storm distress.
Don’t panic! I can help you with this. Here are some things to look for, what you can do about it, and some things you should think of doing immediately to prepare for the next whirlwind-of-terror.
Condition: Brown (aka dead) leaves on trees that sat in salty/brackish/stormwater.
What to do: Nothing, at least for now. Make sure they get once-weekly water, be it irrigation or plain ol’ precipitation. Then, you wait. It may be next week or it may be next spring, but keep looking for the little bits of green that indicate new growth and/or new leaves.
Do not let anyone tell you it should be removed. The predators are already driving around looking to make quick money off of fearful folk. Some of them, sadly, might even be certified arborists. You should know that removal is a possibility should the tree not recover but it’s rarely a decision made this soon.
Condition: Brown sod (turfgrass) that hasn’t yet shown any new growth.
What to do: Depends on the kind of grass you have. First of all, no Florida turfgrass except Seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum; a rare turfgrass) can sit in saltwater. Although zoysia and St. Augustine can take on quite a bit of salinity, bahia is less tolerant. All of the above should pretty much be brown right now. Just wait it out and see if it sprouts. Pull or spray the weeds that will definitely appear. If your purported “lawn” is a combination of who-knows-what-weed combined with the builder’s original bahia grass combined with Dad’s weekend plug sessions using Brand-New-Cultivar-of-St. Augustine, you’ve probably got some green starting to show. This wonderful mix of weeds and turfgrasses will definitely return; simply make sure it gets watered once a week until then.
In the future, make sure all of your trees are pruned so that air moves through them. Prune every three years. For the sake of all involved, only solicit bids from ISA Certified Arborists.
Wait out the brown leaves on your shrubs. If there’s no new growth by mid-November, it’s dead. Don’t use that shrub again. Grass? Maybe it’s time to experiment with groundcovers. Turfgrasses, in the best of times, require more care than a rose garden could dream of.
The sunshine mimosa ground cover in the islands on Beach Boulevard sat in the Flood-of-Fame on Aug. 30. Every reputable source on Google says that it has low/no salt tolerance. Nonetheless, 50% of these flooded plants have new growth and flowers already. Hope springs eternal.
Keep Gulfport Weird, little plants.