En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - December 06, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Will the sea water from Hurricane Ike residually affect Galveston's soil
Answered by: Chris Caran and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Most of the trees on Galveston Island died following Hurricane Ike, apparently as a result of the sea water that covered the island. Will the sea water that soaked the soil have a residual effect on transplanted replacement trees?

ANSWER:

Under normal circumstances, Galveston Island's sandy porous soil functions as an aquifer containing a zone of freshwater.  This "lens" of fresh water derives from rainwater that infiltrates through the soil and overlies a deeper zone of seawater that infiltrates laterally from the ocean and bay.  Some of the saltwater that covered the island during Hurricane Ike no doubt also filtered downward and is now above the freshwater lens.  Saltwater is denser than freshwater and so will move downward and mix with the freshwater.  The saltwater will eventually become thoroughly diluted.  In addition, the layer of mixed water will also be diluted by rainwater seeping downward through the soil.  How long that will take will depend on the amount of salt water from the hurricane and how much rainwater infiltrated.  Additionally, some of the island is built on clay deposits that are far less porous, and mixing in these areas may take longer. So, eventually Galveston Island's soil will have no trouble supporting the transplanted replacement trees—hopefully, sooner than later.  Of course, many of the plants on Galveston Island are salt tolerant.  This is quite evident since Galveston has been hit many times over the centuries by hurricanes bringing elevated salt concentrations but the island still has abundant plant life.

 

More Trees Questions

Retailers of possumhaw
March 11, 2007 - How can I find retailers of possumhaw (Ilex decidua)?
view the full question and answer

Problems with October Glory maple tree in Evansville IN
June 10, 2010 - We have a 15 yr. old October Glory maple tree. 2 years ago we had a bad ice storm and this tree was covered with 1/2 to 3/4 " of ice. The tree resembled a chicken wishbone with its limbs touching ...
view the full question and answer

Is western soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii) dioecious?
February 15, 2008 - Hi! I found different information on the flowering habits of the western soapberry, Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii. Is it dioecious or polygamo-dioecious or none of them? I have some little seed...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping plant for Austin
September 01, 2011 - Great site! Have gotten lots of ideas. We're about to start construction on a fairly major landscaping project: raised beds/privacy screen. We're at the top of a hill in the Hill Country just wes...
view the full question and answer

Thinning out of maple tree following heavy winds
July 26, 2008 - A 15 yr old red maple lost significant fruit in spring from heavy winds, in summer the tree seems thinned out. Is this the reason? Tree is otherwise very healthy and has always had thick foliage in ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center