Tampa Bay rain and your lawn

How the wet summer has damaged plants

Theresa Badurek, Urban Horticulture Agent with the Pinellas County Extension Service.

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Summer 2015 will go down in the history books as one of the wettest on record. Officially, Lakeland received 36.50″ of rain in June, July and August that is the most rain ever in that city. Tampa’s 34.54″ ranks as the tenth rainiest since records began in 1890.

While all that rain has kept many of the lawns across Tampa Bay lush and green, other plants have been been damaged by the standing water.

“You see drooping leaves, yellowing leaves, brown leaves, parts of the plant dying back,” said Theresa Badurek, Urban Horticulture Agent with the Pinellas County Extension Service.

In fact, the damage many plans have after a food looks a lot like damage from drought. “What happens is the roots are surrounded by water, and they can’t take up oxygen, so they essentially suffocate the plant,” explained Badurek.

Removing the leaves with brown or yellow spots or pruning out dead areas can help the plant, but some will need to be removed. Because some plants, like trees, may have damage that is not visible yet, keep an eye on plants through the fall and winter.

Finally, when thinking about planting for the fall, notice the areas of your yard where water tends to pool or standing water exists. Badurek recommends choosing a plant for this area that can better handle excess water. That process is known as Florida Friendly Landscaping. Drier areas of a lawn need plants that are more drought-tolerant, so you use less water to keep a plant alive.

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