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

Live oak trees with rusty spots and holes on tree trunks
September 21, 2011 - I have live oak trees that have developed rusty spots, small holes on the tree trunks and sawdust on the trees base. They were planted in Oct 2010. We have had a hot dry summer in Texas this year an...
view the full question and answer

Chilopsis linearis Bubba in Hunt TX
October 18, 2009 - I purchased 3 desert willows (label: chilopsis linearis) to create an oasis area around a fountain which is in the center of my circle drive. But I need one more. Now I can only find the "chilopsis...
view the full question and answer

White pine insect problems
October 08, 2009 - We live in The Woodlands TX. Some of our large pine trees have leaking sap and one is dead. What can we do to save the one's still alive?
view the full question and answer

Trees and shrubs turning brown in Dripping Springs TX
October 31, 2011 - Due to the extended drought - a number of trees and shrubs in our Dripping Springs area property have turned brown. Specifically: Live Oak; Agarita; Ash Juniper; Cedar Elm. Is this a dormant stag...
view the full question and answer

Bark damage to Tulip Tree
August 10, 2006 - I have a tulip tree planted. It is about 9-10 years old. Two years ago the tree looked as though the trunk was cracked. Maybe hit by lightning after a storm. This year the bark on the side of tree...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center