Thursday, September 1, 2011

Top Five Post Irene Garden Salvage Tips

Post Irene Clean-up Tips

As power is slowly restored to our area, the extent of destruction from Irene and the flash floods she caused are surfacing, accompanied by horrifying images and videos.

We hope you and your loved ones are safe. There are still people in the Catskill area stranded by the destruction. so far seems like the best resource to see the effects of the storm on some of our neighboring communities, but for information on Rosendale, Youtube and Facebook seem to be the best resources. has a forum to report anyone you believe stranded or missing. There is also a collaborative Google map marking road closures, bridge closures or outages, and other damage.

We are hearing from some of our clients, that although they experienced minor damage to their homes, they have experienced major damage to their gardens.

Here are some tips for cleaning up the types of damage we've seen so far:

Plants uprooted from the soil:

Replant uprooted plants as soon as possible, even if you plant it in a temporary holding area, like a pile of fresh garden soil off to the side of your yard. Set the plant upright and firm the plant into soil, being sure to cover all of the exposed roots.

Plants covered in mud:

If you have power and water, rinse any mud off the plant's foliage in particular. Mud encrusted leaves will harm the plant, hindering its ability to photosynthesize and feed itself. (If you don't have power and water, you can brush off the dried mud the best you can. Use a soft tool, like a duster if you have one. It won't damage the leaves and it will give extra reach if you need it.)

Broken branches:

Prune off snapped branches. Cut off the damaged limb at the first health Y-branching. You want to leave a clean cut, not a ragged edge so use cleaned and sharpened pruners, loppers, or saws.

Damaged Foliage:

Trim off beat up foliage, especially on your big leafed perennials like ligularia. We also have been cutting the flowers off damaged plants, because the plant will waste energy flowering and producing seed, when it needs that energy to repair root damage and in general strengthen its root structure.

Damaged Bark:

Bark that was scrapped away or gouged, leaving open scars, should be cleaned with plain water and kept clean. Tree bark, like human skin, will heal itself (It just takes much longer). Don't paint the open wound with any type of product, that will only inhibit the tree from healing itself. The only thing you can do is watch out for an insect infestation (they can attack the tree at the wound), keep the tree well watered, and encourage root growth with a root treatment like Espoma Bio-Starter.


Don't even put down compost. You do not want to add nitrogen to your soil right now, because it will stimulate foliage growth. The only thing you should add to you soil, especially to uprooted plants is the previously mentioned root treatment, Espoma Bio-starter.

Fluff Your Plants:

It may seem ridiculous, but we've seen a significant improvement and a quicker recovery when plants are fluffed up by hand. Number one, it ensures that you are carefully inspecting for mud and damage plant by plant, and number two, you are countering the downward force of the heavy rain, flood waters, and possibly the force of swiftly moving mud streams. The plants will perk up from your attention.

Call For A Clean-up:

If the job is simply too big for you, call Victoria Gardens for a clean-up. We have experience in garden reconstruction and we can help you salvage your damaged plants. (845) 658-9007

Unfortunately, we believe it will be a much easier task to put back together gardens than it will to put back together the towns and lives uprooted by the floodwater.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who suffered so much devastation. If you have updates you would like added to you can contact:

Julia Reischel:

Lissa Harris:

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