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

Place to purchase Texas Madrone tree
May 15, 2008 - Where can I purchase a Texas Madrone Tree to plant in my yard?
view the full question and answer

Controlling oak suckers in Austin
June 24, 2012 - We have 2 live oak trees that are sprouting shoots all around the surrounding area. We would like to plant some grass and would like to remedy this first. We have mowed the shoots and still they jus...
view the full question and answer

Crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - Please don't bother to answer my question about how to treat a crepe myrtle with sticky stuff falling from it. I just found the answer on your site. Good site, by the way.
view the full question and answer

When is the best time to trim oak trees in Driftwood TX?
September 09, 2010 - When is the best time to trim oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a replacement tree for Hackberry tree in Austin, TX in Austin TX.
May 25, 2013 - We have a large hackberry tree in our front yard. We are cutting it down this fall. I would like to replace it with a tree native to this area..preferably something fast growing. What are your reco...
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