HTA: Best advice to rescue a flooded garden

Following the wettest January on record and the February storms that recently occured, the nation?s gardens have become victim to severe flooding.? Whilst the worse of the weather appears to be over, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) collected some advice on how to rescue a waterlogged garden.


Very few garden plants can survive periods of flooding, the water drowns the plants in the soil and restricts the air that the roots need to breathe. This causes plants leaves to turn yellow, drop off and eventually rot and die. Bark may start to peel off stems and herbaceous plants may fail to come into growth in spring.


Scott?s Miracle Gro have put together a rescue plan to ensure that your garden is blooming in spring.? They warn not to walk on waterlogged soil – especially heavy clay soils – until it has dried out and is workable, to avoid compacting it and making conditions worse. If you have to walk on it, use a plank of wood, board or invest in a portable path. This will spread your weight and help avoid compacting the soil.


Many will be concerned with the flooding of lawns in their gardens. Which? magazine advises gardeners to spike the lawn with a lawn aerator or garden fork, leaving holes that are at least 10cm deep. Fill them with a lawn top dressing or horticultural sand. This allows the water to penetrate the less compacted soil below.


Ken Thompson offers advice in The Daily Telegraph on how to improve your soil structure to improve your soil drainage during flooding. ?The easiest way of doing this is to add lots of organic matter, such as garden compost, chipped bark or shredded prunings. No need to dig it in, just add to the surface and let the worms do the rest.

Chief horticultural adviser at The RHS Guy Barter advised: “Once the water goes down, the soil will be ready to sow and plant after a few days. There could be rubbish to pick up and people have got to be aware of contamination from sewage, and they will want to take appropriate precautions for that.

“The soil won’t be damaged beyond repair, although nutrients will be washed away so investment in fertilisers is a good idea. But if we get an average spring and summer there should be no long-term consequences.”

Worcestershire based Forest Garden ? the UK?s leading manufacturer garden timber products ? has recently welcomed over 100 new workers to its team, helping the company to meet peak production demand of replacement fence panels and garden sheds as a result of 2014?s high winds and gales.

Graham Jeffery, owner of Trevena Cross Nurseries in Cornwall offers his advice: ?The country has taken a real beating and even the sturdiest windbreaks have been tested to their absolute limits this past couple of weeks. Vulnerable structures have succumbed to the weather, as we?ve discovered ourselves, and as a result we?re seeing a lot more interest in our hedging plants, for screening/barriers.

For those that cannot wait to get gardening, the HTA is encouraging people to start container planting, under the industry wide campaign ?It Starts with a Pot?.? The aim of the campaign is to show that growing is fun and straightforward and anyone can have a go.

Garden centres are stocked with colourful spring plants. shrubs, herbs, grow your own which all can be planted in a pot on your patio, path, driveway, balcony, whatever space you?ve got whilst the borders and vegetable beds dry out of excess water. This will ensure a colourful, vibrant area for you to enjoy whilst the rest of your garden recovers.

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