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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Saving stressed-out plants after Hurricane Sandy
(Page 3 of 3)
Scott Brinton/Herald
In Merrick, floodwaters reached as far north as Merrick Road during Hurricane Sandy, spreading saltwater everywhere and stressing plants like this hydrangea outside the Merrick CVS. Though many plants appear to be dead, they could very well make a comeback in June or early July, experts say.

No matter what, Seghrouchni recommended that you add gypsum, available at many local garden centers, to help rid soil of any remaining salt. You should also apply organic material such as compost. Compost, comprising decayed plants, vegetables and fruits, increases nutrient levels in soil, which are often destroyed by saltwater.

Finally, prune branches that are clearly dead. Nunnenkamp said that the dead ones would become apparent when the growing season starts in early to mid-May, because they will remain barren as the branches around them sprout buds. Trim back all dead, diseased and damaged branches to decrease stress on a plant and increase air circulation through its branches, he said.

Looking out at a once-verdant yard that is now full of brown can be tough on a homeowner, Seghrouchni said. But, given time, nature can work magic.

“I know it’s hard to look at brown plants,” she said. “Throw in some annuals if it’s hard to look at.”

Realizing that the journey to recovery is a multifaceted story with no end in sight, the Heralds are chronicling all aspects of the rebuilding effort in a series of weekly articles with a common theme, South Shore Rising.

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