PPDL Picture of the Week
May 15, 2017
The Effects of Abundant Spring Rainfall on Nurseries and
Kyle Daniel, Department of Horticulture and Landscape
The spring rains came as a mild drought was beginning to and
did not let up for a couple of weeks (Fig. 1).
Many areas in Indiana experienced moderate flooding of creeks and
rivers, causing minor damage. Most of
the news articles and publicity has focused on the effects on agronomic
crops. Though the nursery and landscape
industries are not affected as the agronomic industries, the rainfall has
affected the green industry as well.
Being the eternal optimist and starting out with the
positive aspects, the nursery industry will begin the growing season with
adequate water reserves in irrigation ponds and well water. Even if a drought occurs this summer, there
should be enough water reserves for irrigation.
Also, any planted material in the early spring received plenty of
On the not so positive side, field dug trees had to be
postponed due to excessive soil moisture.
Many fields in the state have been too wet for supporting equipment
during the heavy rainfall. Another drawback
to the rainfall is reduced oxygen exchange in flooded areas (Fig. 2) in
pot-in-pot and field production systems.
Any preemergence herbicides applied in the nursery or landscape prior to
the rainfall will have a reduction in duration due to leaching and/or
There has been some research from the USDA studying the
effects of flooded/anaerobic conditions leading to an increase in insect
infestation on trees. Be sure to monitor
plants over the next couple of months to prevent substantial insect
damage. Also, irrigate as necessary if
drier conditions settle into the region to prevent other additional abiotic