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If your home has been subject to flooding, you've probably received advice about how to clean up or rebuild your home. But your yard needs help, too. Here is advice from Martha Smith, University of Illinois horticulture educator.

• Whenever you can help it, don't walk on your wet soil. When soil is soft and soggy, it will compress more easily with any amount of pressure. This could ultimately cause damage to the roots of your plants. Besides what's necessary for the initial cleaning, don't walk on your wet soil if you can help it.

• Let the waters subside naturally. If needed, use buckets to drain any lingering, stagnant water in your yard.

• Rinse your plants, shrubs and bushes to remove residues left over by contaminated water.

• Clear the mulch from plants, shrubs and bushes. The goal is to encourage evaporation, and mulch will prevent the excess moisture from escaping.

• Aerate. It may take weeks for your yard to dry out, but new growth will appear. When dry, aerate your yard and garden beds with a garden fork or a lawn aerator to help the drying process.

• Clean up fallen leaves, branches and debris in the yard.

• Throw away all fruits, vegetables and herbs that were submerged by the flood water. They are no longer safe for consumption.

• Use care when cleaning up and treating your yard. Wear gloves, boots, and appropriate protection for yourself, and wash your hands with antibacterial soap after you've been doing yard work.

• A few days after the flood waters recede, remove any pools of standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard or garden.

• Prune plants and shrubs, and remove the dead foliage to help foster new growth.

• Avoid applying fertilizer. Instead, water your entire lawn and garden to remove lingering silt and sediment. Then, apply fresh pesticide to combat bugs and fungal diseases.

• After the lawn has dried, lightly mow the grass and let it grow a bit taller than usual before resuming your regular mowing schedule.

• Inspect and flush your sprinkler system. Irrigation lines can get clogged with flood debris, so make sure your system is still in working order.

• Be patient. The recovery process will take time, but your landscape will bounce back with the right maintenance and care.

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