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Flooded Tree – What Should I Do?

Flooded Tree – What Should I Do?

Watering trees is important for their health, especially if they are newly planted or transplanted within the last two years. It’s crucial to ensure that the trees are not being overwatered. However, what should you do when the weather causes flooding?

Frequent and large storms have caused flooding in certain areas of New Jersey during the summer due to unpredictable weather patterns. Although flood damage to trees may not be easily noticeable at first, it can lead to long-term negative consequences such as dead or severely damaged trees. Ironically, the loss of trees is contributing to the increase in flooding incidents in New York.

This article discusses the following:

  • The harmful effects of flooding or excessive watering on trees
  • Indicators that a tree has been affected by flooding
  • Methods for treating a flooded tree
  • Measures to prevent flooding or overwatering in the future (to some extent)


It’s surprising for property owners to discover that trees can actually drown if they receive too much water. This is because although tree roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, they also need oxygen from the ground to survive and grow.

When soil is healthy and not compacted, it contains air pockets filled with oxygen. These pockets are important for the roots to distribute oxygen to the tree. However, if water replaces the oxygen in those pockets, the roots can die, causing the tree to become unhealthy and wilted-looking. In the worst-case scenario, the entire tree can die due to root rot or lack of oxygen.


The effects of using ice melt products may not be noticeable until spring with salt damage, and likewise, issues resulting from flooding or overwatering may take several months to appear. For example, problems seen in the early summer could have been caused by flooding during the previous summer.

We suggest having a certified arborist conduct regular tree evaluations through a Tree Health Management assessment to identify potential issues early on. Additionally, there are certain symptoms that can indicate a tree has been previously affected by flooding.


If a tree has been overwatered, it will display certain indications, including:

  • Leaves that droop or wilt
  • Leaves with yellow or brown edges
  • Leaves with a brown spot in the center
  • Brittle, fragile green leaves.

Identifying signs of overwatering can be difficult because they are similar to signs of underwatering. This is because in both cases, the roots are not able to provide enough water to the tree. In overwatering, this is due to root damage caused by flooding, whereas in underwatering, there isn’t enough moisture in the soil for the roots to absorb.

If you see signs of moss, algae, or mushrooms growing at the base of a tree that was recently in contact with water, it’s possible that the tree is being overwatered or flooded. To address the issue, consider reviewing and adjusting your irrigation system or checking for leaks.


When planting new trees or plants on your property, keep in mind that some areas may be lower than others. If there are places in your yard where water tends to accumulate, it’s best to only plant flood-tolerant species in those areas. For species that are less tolerant of excess water, it’s better to plant them in higher, well-draining ground.


When a tree is flooded, there are limited actions that can be taken. You need to wait for the water to recede. After that, you can get rid of any debris that may have accumulated under the tree, and make sure that the root flare is not buried in soil or mud.

Please be aware that trees that have been flooded may fall after a storm due to the saturated soil around their roots. If you notice this happening, please contact us right away.

To help the flooded area around a tree dry out faster, consider raking away the mulch around the tree. While mulch is excellent at holding water, you want the water to evaporate quickly in this situation to allow oxygen to reach the roots.

To prevent overwatering, adjust your irrigation system. Then, monitor your trees closely in the coming months for any damage caused by excessive water.

If your trees have been affected by water damage, reach out to our Tree Service Rochester NY team for a thorough examination by professionals. Applying deep root fertilization to the soil can be an effective way of aiding the recovery of your trees by supplying oxygen and nutrients.


To prevent overwatering, it’s important to keep track of how much water your trees receive if you water them regularly or use an irrigation system. Make sure you have a plan to adjust or cancel your irrigation when your area receives enough rainfall. Remember, there’s no need to water your trees if they’ve recently had plenty of rain.

If a tree has been planted in an area with excessive water, it may be necessary to remove it. Overwatering can result in root rot, and a tree that is under stress is more vulnerable to pests or diseases. However, it is understandable that unexpected flooding can make it difficult to anticipate or prevent such situations.


If you have an area on your property that holds more water, it is recommended to plant a flood-resistant tree in that area. However, it’s important to note that these trees usually have large root systems and may require extra watering during dry periods.

If you have an area with more water, you could consider planting trees such as River Birch, Black Tupelo, Weeping Willow, Baldcypress, Red Maple, Hackberry, American Sweetgum, and Overcup Oak.


Identifying overwatering in trees is tricky as it resembles signs of underwatering, pest infestation, or diseases. Contacting a certified arborist from Tree Service Rochester NY to evaluate your trees and identify the underlying cause can be beneficial. Based on the diagnosis, we can suggest appropriate tree services that can revive your tree (or execute safe removal of the tree if it is unrepairable).

Contact us today!

Also read, should you plant a tree after removal.

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