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Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:48 PM

What will a late October salt water bath of 2 hours duration kill?

What might have survived Sandy?

My azaleas aren't looking too hot, and the jury is out on my big rose bushes. I expect the "native grasses" will come back just fine, but I worry that my mature stands of Irises may be goners.

Also, will the bleeding hearts break my heart and never return?

What do people here suggest to "fix" my saturated soil?

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Reply What will a late October salt water bath of 2 hours duration kill? (Original post)
annabanana Jan 2013 OP
ColumbusLib Jan 2013 #1
intheflow Jan 2013 #2
annabanana Jan 2013 #3
RILib Jan 2013 #5
intheflow Jan 2013 #6
RILib Jan 2013 #4

Response to annabanana (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:02 PM

1. I think the answer is-

Compost, compost, and more compost! Any organic matter that will break down and feed the soil and organisms in it will help- the compost is already fairly well broken down. You'll just have to wait and see on the plants, but if you end up having to replace some goners, probably plants native to the area would be best adapted to survive future salt baths. I've heard that daylilies are often the only plants that survive long-term salt water exposure, because of their long tap roots. Of course they're also gorgeous and super-easy, so I love them. Good luck!

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Response to annabanana (Original post)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 10:38 AM

2. Compost, mulching, and water!

Saltwater is most toxic to plants because it dehydrates them, causing what looks like burns. Have you had any good snow/rain storms since the storm? (I'm in the Mountain west, we've been super dry this year, but New England is so much wetter I'm hoping your azaleas will have had at least a few good, clean soakings since then.) If your soil has a salt crust on the top, obviously removing as much of that from above root structures before composting would be very helpful.

I did a google search for plants that survived Katrina, found this nice story about a rose bush that survived after almost 2 weeks under salt water in Plaquemines Parish. So maybe two hours under water won't be as detrimental to your rose bush as you fear.

Also, remembering my time in Mississippi post-Katrina, I seem to remember some bulbs coming up on empty lots (the houses had washed away), but their bloom time was delayed. I don't remember irises, but having never been to Mississippi pre-Katrina, I have no idea if there were tons of tubers before the storm.

Good luck! I grew up in Massachusetts, the plant I miss most in Colorado is the azalea. Broke my heart to learn it wouldn't grow here.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 07:18 PM

3. Thanks.. We've had a couple pretty good rains, but

the ground is still so saturated, and the ground water is still so high that low lying parts of the garden pool up, and I'm not sure that it's just rainwater.

One of the local nurseries has reopened.. I think I'll see what they have in the way of mulch..

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Response to intheflow (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 04:19 PM

5. too cold for azaleas in colorado?

 

I thought some were pretty cold hardy.

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Response to RILib (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 06:31 PM

6. It's not too cold for them to grow here,

it's that we have too much alkaline in our soil, and the sun is unrelenting. And remember that Denver is a mountain-desert region. Azaleas also need more humidity than what naturally occurs here.

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Response to annabanana (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 04:16 PM

4. violets

 

The spread of violets that got a salt water bath died almost immediately. I am worried about the red cedar that is there, but so far it seems okay.

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