It’s been very wet season- and besides making it tough to enjoy outdoor activities, heavy rains can also be damaging to trees. 

“This spring has been unusually wet,” Tom Anderson, a certified arborist with the Davey Tree Expert Company, said. “Most trees can survive short periods of saturated or flooded soil, but if it’s a prolonged period, it can be detrimental to the health of the tree.” 

When soil becomes saturated, the water prevents oxygen from getting to the tree’s root system, Anderson explained. 

“When a tree’s roots are deprived of oxygen, they start to die off and things can happen like root rot or decay organisms can enter the tree,” Anderson said. “It weakens the tree to other problems like pests and insect issues.” 

Heavy rains and flooding can also erode the soil around a tree’s roots, causing it to become unstable. 

“When soils are saturated and you have high wind, trees become unstable and are more likely to shift in the wind,” Anderson said. “That’s something that homeowners should keep an eye out for, or have a certified arborist help them identify trees that may have become unstable.” 

Anderson said that the best way to protect trees from flooding is to make sure that they’re healthy to begin with. 

“A healthy tree is more likely to survive a flooding incident than an unhealthy tree,” Anderson said. 

Aerating trees can help keep their roots strong. One way to do that is to apply mulch around the base of the tree. 

Pruning- removing dead or dying branches-  is also helpful, Anderson said. 

“Spring is a great time for pruning,” he said. “​​​​​