flooded tree

Flooded tree that was planted too deeply. Photo: William Fountain, University of Kentucky, Bugwood.org

Updated: April 18, 2022

Too much water can be just as damaging as too little. Many plants cannot tolerate 'wet feet'. Excess moisture can result if the soil is poorly drained, naturally wet, or overwatered.

Climate change is impacting the frequency and types of rain events we are experiencing in Maryland. Data shows that much more rain is falling as downpours now than in the past.

Problems caused by excess water

  • Excess soil moisture can reduce oxygen in the soil, damage fine root hairs, and render the root system unable to absorb water.
  • Plants exposed to excess moisture show the same symptoms as plants under drought stress. The primary symptom of excess moisture is yellowing of lower and inner needles.
  • If excess water continues, plants may wilt, followed by scorch, needle drop, dieback, or death. 


  • Select plants that tolerate soil and moisture conditions at a specific site.
  • Group plants together with similar water requirements.
  • View Watering Trees and Shrubs for proper watering practices. Take care not to drown your plants.
  • Take the time to observe the flow of water after heavy rain or irrigation.
  • Correcting a problem can be as simple as removing a little soil or mulch away from one spot to let the water flow away naturally.
  • In some cases, a total regrading of the site may be necessary.
  • Identify areas that stay wet to determine the causes and possible solutions. 
  • Make sure downspouts drain away from the house. 

Additional resource

University of Kentucky - Kentucky Pest News|Wet Feet