Soil problems after a hurricane - Knowledgebase Question

San Leon, Te
Question by debradonahue
March 25, 2010
We got about 12 feet of storm surge in our area from Hurricane IKE in 2008. How do I know if my soil is good enough to plant in again. Keep in mind that we lost most of our lawn and large trees...some around 25 years old. Can you give me some information please.


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Answer from NGA
March 25, 2010

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How sad for you and for your garden! I'd just assume all the top soil has washed away and you'll need to improve the soil you're left with. You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start this spring by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your flowers and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular garden. Trees and shrubs are less picky about soils and most will adapt to whatever they are planted in. I'd take a chance with them and just plant. You can feed them after they are planted if the growth is poor or the leaf color pale. Best wishes with your landscape renovation!

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